the lottery is life changing! While some winners spend all of their new fortune
on luxury lifestyles, some seek to help others. Below are several inspirational
stories of people using new-found wealth to benefit their communities.
The $112 Million Dollar Jackpot
Cynthia Stafford of California was experiencing hardship following the passing of her brother in 2007 who was a victim in a drunk driving accident. As Stafford was grieving the loss of her sibling, she was financially struggling to provide for herself, her father, and her late brother’s five children.
Stafford would pray to win the lottery and decided to take a chance buying a $2 Mega Millions lottery ticket on Mother’s Day of 2007. Stafford’s prayers were answered when she won a whopping $112 million jackpot prize that greatly helped her family.
She continued to build her wealth investing to establish her own film production company and investing in real estate. Cynthia Stafford was able to build her net worth to $10 million while also making contributions to organizations such as The Geffen Playhouse, UNICEF, and Kids in the Spotlight.
The $319 Million Dollar Jackpot
John Kutey of New York hit the jackpot through an office lottery pool. They won one of Mega Millions’ biggest jackpots ever - $319 million. The split between the participating office staff was 28.7 million – a life changing amount!
John and his wife Linda decided to use the prize money to honor their parents by benefiting their local community. They went to Green Island town hall to learn how their money could help the community. It turns out that the local park needed to be renovated.
The Kuteys funded the transformation of an old wading pool into a newly renovated spray park. They paid for new equipment to be purchased while a local engineering company volunteered their labor. After funding this community beautification project, the Kuteys had a remaining $19 million. John quit his job in New York and moved with his wife to Florida.
The $344 Million Dollar Jackpot
Lerynne West, a single mom from Iowa, won a Power Ball jackpot prize of $343.8 million. She retired from her job shortly after this enormous win. She decided to put this money to good use, so hired a wealth manager to set up an organizing in honor of her grandson – the Callum Foundation.
This charitable foundation provides financial support to organizations working towards improving veteran affairs, children’s education, animal welfare, and health. Because of her financial support of so many community-assistance program, West has also been invited to appear on popular daytime television programs. She appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, for instance, to contribute $500,000 to the Travis Mills Foundation.
The $429 Million Dollar Jackpot
Pearlie Mae Smith, a mother of seven from New Jersey, always taught her children the importance of giving back to their community. She frequently worked as volunteers for local projects. Pearlie’s life forever changed after she won a $429 million Powerball jackpot and she split the prize money evenly eight ways for her family members.
Some family members quit their jobs, but the family worked together to give back to their community by starting the Smith Family Foundation. This program helps fund grassroots organizations working towards improving the lives of people in their hometown of Trenton, New Jersey. The priority of the foundation includes education, supporting families in the Trenton area, Christian education, and neighborhood development.