Many hopeful lottery players think they would use their Powerball millions to do some good and donate lottery winnings in their state or community. Homeless shelters, community service, youth challenge programs, your local community food bank—there are plenty of worthy causes that could use your help. These six lottery winners actually put their money where their mouth is and made contributions that changed lives.
1) Colin and Chris Weir Spread Out Their Lottery Wealth
The Weirs are a British couple that won 161 million pounds, or approximately $251 million USD, through the lottery. Instead of hoarding their wealth, they chose to donate lottery winnings and used their money to help people. Among the people they helped was a young teen who lost his leg to cancer. They bought him a lighter prosthetic limb, which allowed him to go back to his active lifestyle. The Weirs also funded quality training for an up-and-coming Scottish tennis player who couldn’t afford it for himself.
2) Tom Crist Fights Cancer with $40 Million Win
Tom Crist, a Canadian lottery winner, gave away the $40 million he won to charities that fight cancer. Crist lost his wife to cancer, so both he and his children were happy to support the cause. “I don’t really need that money,” Crist noted, opting to place the money in a trust that will distribute it to charities chosen by him and his grown children.
3) $30,000 in a Church Collection Plate
Imagine the surprise of the pastor of the struggling Baltimore parish that received a winning $30,000 lottery ticket in the weekly collection plate. The funds paid expenses for the church and helped community members in need. The pastor decided to save $5 of the winnings to buy a Mega Millions ticket, in hopes that the winnings could go even further. The donor remains anonymous to this day!
4) Mark Hill, $136.5 million “Down the Drain”
Mark Hill certainly didn’t waste his record-breaking $136.5 million lottery win, but the money literally went “down the drain.” Instead of buying a fancy new sports car, he and his wife wanted to give back to their community by buying a desperately needed waste treatment plant. On top of that, the money will also be used for a fire hall and a ball field.
5) Les Robins’ Camp Legacy
Les Robins won a $111 million Powerball jackpot in 1993. He used the money to found a camp for local Wisconsin children, called Camp Winnegator, after buying the 226-acre plot of land that houses the camp.
6) Rhonda Meath, a Waitress with a Big Heart
Rhonda Meath won the $11.7 million Hot Lotto Jackpot in 2014. Instead of retiring early, she opted to keep her job, which she loves, and use her winnings for charity instead. The money went to helping many different people, including her own children. She also made a substantial donation to the St. Paul Police K-9 Foundation.
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