Genevieve Via Cava, a New Jersey educator, told her students that one day she would give them a million dollars, not many believed her.
After all, what sort of public school teacher even has a million dollars just to give away?
She’s certainly proved everyone wrong now, however, having donated $1 million (£747,000) to the Dumont School District’s Board of Education as part of her will, a full seven years after she passed away at the age of 89.
“I wasn’t surprised that she was going to be donating something,” said Dumont school superintendent Emanuele Triggiano, according to the New York Times. “The surprise was the amount of money she sent to us.”
Via Cava had reportedly told Triggiano many times that she would give the school district money, but few had actually thought that it would come to pass.
The money is not just a hefty sum – it is cleverly invested so that it will accrue continually and therefore create wealth as it stays with the bank.
According to Triggiano, the money that Via Cava donated will be used to provide as much as $25,000’s (£18,700) worth of college scholarships for lower-income students, beginning from next year, with the interest enough that it will continue indefinitely.
“Her family went through the Depression, and I think a lot of that had a big influence on her life, being so frugal,” said Richard Jablonski, a long-time family friend of Via Cava and executor of her will, to northjersey.com.
It is thought that Via Cava, a special needs educator, generated such a large amount of cash by her naturally frugal nature: she rarely bought clothes and would even scrimp on the hearing aids that she needed in order to save the pennies. When her husband passed away, she even stopped going on holidays in order to boost her savings.
“She didn’t have too many people. She was a rough-exterior type of a person. But she could light up a room. She had a killer smile,” Jablonski continued.
“Her name will live on forever in this scholarship fund. It’s unbelievable that she’s going to have this effect.”
As well as leaving money to the school district, Ms Via Casa also gave to animal homes and the Salvation Army from her will.