Billionaire Antonino Fernández, who helped build Grupo Modela which produces Corona, was left with more than a few pennies when he passed away at the age of 99 in August.
But despite his overwhelming success in the beer industry, Fernández didn’t forget his roots. He himself was born into poverty in Cerezales del Condado, one of 13 children. He was forced to quit school at 14 because his parents could not afford to pay tuition.
Fernández decided to give back to those from the northwestern Spanish town, gifting $210 million to the village’s 80 residents in his will – leaving them each with around $2.49 million to their name.
“We have never had any pesete (money) before. I don’t know what we would have done without Antonino,” local bar owner Maximino Sanchez told Diario de León newspaper.
The billionaire – who was previously honored by the former King of Spain for his charitable deeds – left additional money in his will to give the town a brand new cultural center, and a local non-profit foundation with 300 employees will also benefit from his generosity.
Fernández became the CEO of Grupo Modelo when he was 32, having previously immigrated to Mexico in 1949. He became the founder of Corona beer, and was hugely responsible for its success as the second most popular imported beer in the US and Mexico’s most popular beer.
He has created a number of philanthropic organizations through the years. One of those is Soltra, which offers employment to people with disabilities. A similar company was set up under his wife’s name in the Mexican state of Puebla.