From rags to riches is the story of a now multi-millionaire mother of five. If given the chance to go back to her humble origins for a week, where $40 and a stuffy, beat-up apartment awaited her, would she?
Her initial answer? No, but not for reasons expected.
Dani Johnson, bestselling author and success coach, reacted unlike most people when given the opportunity for some limelight – with a slammed door, so to speak.
Rejecting ABC four times before finally saying yes, Johnson is now set to star in the upcoming reality show “Secret Millionaire,” where self-made entrepreneurs go incognito for a week to some of the country’s most impoverished neighborhoods on a mission of finding unsung heroes within the community.
Keeping his or her wealthy identity a secret, each millionaire must find a local nonprofit organization or charity to volunteer at, under the disguise of filming a documentary.
At the end of the filming, they’ll reveal their true identities and donate their own money to the local selfless heroes.
There will be tears, hugs, and a lot of thank you’s in between – kind of like watching an episode of Extreme Makeover, without the fancy house.
So why was the inspirational millionaire so hesitant on taking the spotlight?
“We’d rather not get the recognition from those who receive from us, or anyone else for that matter,” Johnson confessed to ABC. “This way the ‘receiver’ can only thank the ONE who really answered their need, which is not human.”
Her personal philosophy, along with her husband’s, was to give in secret, based on Matthew 6:1-4, where Jesus warns not to practice righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.
Johnson stated to Christianity Today, “We use our business to generate millions of dollars so we can give to those who are in need, but we give in secret. We also believe we’re supposed to be the hands and feet of these organizations, so we’re not just ones that cut the check.”
Johnson and her husband started King’s Ransom, a non-profit foundation dedicated to serving people and giving to those in need around the globe.
“We go in as volunteers, not as successful millionaires,” she expressed to the magazine.
Caring more about serving than about having her face plastered all over television, Johnson continually told ABC that she was not their girl, according to CT.
But when it became blatantly obvious that God was opening the door for her, as she laid out impossible conditions, which ABC surprisingly met, Johnson realized the show would be an opportunity to bring God onto center stage.
Johnson explained to CT that God opened up a platform to put one of His own on ABC on a Sunday night to proclaim who He is.
“The Bible says we are supposed to be a light on a hill for all the world to see, and what better way than primetime network TV on a Sunday night?”
Dispatched into Knoxville, Tenn. with just $40 in her pocket, $37.97 more than what she herself had started with at 21, Johnson will be seen this coming Sunday knee-deep in volunteer work run by extraordinary self-sacrificial people.
The edited version of this week’s program will show Johnson telling each person at the end of the filming, “I have a check for you.” According to Christianity Today, ABC cut out the next part where she said “This is from [Jesus], not from me.”
Though much of her faith-driven dialogue was edited out, minus a few scenes where she is seen praying or reading her Bible, Johnson understands the reason behind it – Christians have a bad reputation.
She lamented to the magazine that Christians often give to church buildings and private jets for pastors rather than to the poor.
Johnson started a business from the trunk of her car and a payphone booth. She is now the president of danijohnson.com, a personal achievement and corporate training company. Johnson has a strong passion to help people improve their lives, decrease their debt and increase their salaries.
“My heart hurts for the hurting because I have been there too many times,” Johnson described to ABC.
Feeding, clothing, sheltering, and educating over 4,000 orphans, widows and kids victimized by the sex trade, Johnson, giving more than what she lives on, chooses to live by example for her family and clients instead of living a life without integrity.
Hoping to inspire viewers to use their influence to help others who are in need, Johnson left the reality show passionate about mobilizing people.
“We’re using all the resources together to motivate people to change not only this nation but to make a difference in the whole world. We really can do it, it’s possible,” she expressed to MSN.
“Secret Millionaire” premieres Sunday, March 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.
The Love Kitchen, Joy of Music School, and Specialty Spaces are among the three organizations where Johnson will be seen spreading some good news.