There are those people who magically pick the Mega Millions winning numbers and spend their fortunes on private islands and fleets of SUVs. Then, there are people who acquire unimaginable amounts of wealth virtually overnight and distribute their millions to local charities and worthy causes. While millions of lottery dollars are already recycled back into the community through public works projects and social reform, these lottery winners take matters into their own hands, building housing or funding hospital renovations.
Randy Smith won a $79 million Powerball lottery jackpot in August 2010. Already a county sheriff, Smith went on to donate millions to local emergency service departments and needy individuals. In December 2010, Smith even sponsored the building of a 24-unit apartment complex worth more than $1 million. His mission: to provide emergency housing for families suffering from illness, unemployment, fires and other tragedies that resulted in home-loss. The massive facility includes an emergency shelter apartment, 9 one-bedroom apartments, 11 2-bedroom apartments and a 4-unit apartment house. Smith rents out the apartments at highly-subsidized rates with all proceeds going to benefit United Way. The project will bring in $30,000 a year and benefit the community greatly.
Then there is the story of Allen and Violet Large, an elderly couple from Nova Scotia who won a lotto jackpot worth $10.9 million in 2010. After putting 2% aside for emergency funds, the Larges donated the remainder of their money to various causes. Yes, 98% of $10.9 million is a whopping $10.68 million and the Larges’ philanthropy has made big news in Canada and abroad. For self-proclaimed “plain country folks who didn’t need more than what they have,” this couple has made a huge impact on millions of lives. They donated money to churches, fire departments, cemeteries and the local Red Cross. The Larges also chose to give generously to the hospitals where Violet has been treated for cancer.
Perhaps the most amazing story of all came in an unmarked envelope to a post office box in Kansas. In August 2010, the executive director of the Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation in Beloit, Kansas, opened the post office box to check for any mail or donations to help with much-needed renovations. The director found a nondescript envelope containing 2 pieces of paper – a Powerball lottery ticket and a note that read, “Please accept this gift for the Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation for the good work you do. God Bless!” The ticket matched 4 of the 5 main numbers and the Powerball. It was worth $10,000.
These are only 3 examples of countless lottery jackpot winners who use their millions for good. And with today’s massive super prizes, lucky winners have plenty of money to splurge on a yacht and still donate a wing at the hospital.