Imagine winning the lottery, the sheer exhilaration and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. The dream of a sudden windfall has crossed the minds of many, leaving us pondering what we would do if such fortune came our way.
While sports cars, luxurious mansions, and extravagant indulgences often come to mind, there are those who have a different vision—a vision centered around giving back. Frances Connolly, a remarkable woman from the UK, found herself in the extraordinary position of winning the EuroMillions in 2019. As a former social worker and teacher from Northern Ireland, she discovered that luck had bestowed upon her an astounding fortune of £115 million (approximately $145 million). Rather than keeping the wealth to herself, Frances had something extraordinary in mind from the very beginning. Even before her remarkable win, she had prepared a list of beneficiaries, firmly believing in the power of giving. While one might expect family members to top such a list, the truth is far more remarkable. With her newfound abundance, Connolly established two charitable foundations, each with a distinct purpose. The first foundation bears the name of her late mother, Kathleen Graham, and operates in Northern Ireland. The second, known as the PFC Trust, offers support to local carers, the elderly, and refugees in her hometown.
It is estimated that Connolly has already given away more than half of her winnings, a staggering testament to her generosity. Astonishingly, she even kept her philanthropic endeavors a secret from her own husband, surprising him with her selfless acts.
However, it must be noted that Connolly's dedication to giving back did not emerge overnight. Her commitment to the community has deep roots. Throughout her life, she has volunteered with organizations such as St. John Ambulance during her childhood and participated in an AIDS hotline while studying in Belfast.
Today, Connolly continues her involvement in the community, focusing on assisting the unemployed, refugees, caregivers, and the elderly. She has even provided tablets to seniors, enabling them to stay connected with their loved ones.
Helping others has become a passion for Connolly—one that she finds addicting. When questioned by local news outlets about her immense charitable contributions, she simply responded, "Why wouldn't you? I've done that all my life." It's a sentiment that captures the essence of her spirit.
Connolly further expressed that if she were to reclaim all the money she had given away over the years, she would still be a millionaire. A testament to her selflessness, she even spent £5,000 to purchase clothes and toiletries for Ukrainian refugees.
Yet amidst all this giving, Connolly and her husband have not forgotten themselves. Their most significant purchase to date is a six-bedroom house in County Durham, complemented by seven acres of land. As for her husband, he now drives a second-hand Aston Martin, a small indulgence in their otherwise grounded lives.
Living luxuriously has never been a priority for Connolly. In fact, she recalls watching a television show where someone spent £25,000 on a bottle of champagne, prompting her to question whether such extravagant expenses could be better used to help people in need.
Despite her newfound wealth, the couple continues to live a modest life. Mr. Connolly remains dedicated to their plastics businesses, while Frances devotes her time to the foundations she has established. When reflecting on the immense amount she has given, she expresses no regret. "Why wouldn't you just do it?" Connolly ponders, her words echoing a sentiment that resonates deep within. "It makes no sense to me to have that kind of money and not use it to do good in the world."
Frances Connolly's story shows the power of generosity and the positive impact one person can have on the lives of others.