There have been numerous accounts of people winning large amounts of money in lotteries and ending up broke. In fact, a study by Vanderbilt University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Pittsburgh found that the larger the winner’s take, the more likely he or she will end up broke.
We don’t often hear about the winners who have maintained their wealth and even donated some of their winnings to charities, funds, churches, families and their community. It’s not hard to understand for those who win multi-millions but for those who don’t, it seems like an even greater gift.
Those who share more wealth than they keep are both magnanimous and unaffected by money. Although it seems counter-intuitive to playing the lottery to win the big bucks, evidently some do it just for the win. Read on and you will see ten instances of showing thanks by demonstrating the Golden Rule.
10. Jim Dancy – $10,000
Jim Dancy won $10,000 in the Michigan Lottery’s Club Keno game and donated all of it to the Greater Kalamazoo United Way. His feeling was there are people who needed it more than he did. He attributes the generous move to his friend Julie and decided it was clearly the right thing to do.
Co-founder, vice president and COO or Innovative Analytics, Jim felt he was in good enough standings to not have to keep the money. “I feel very good today, knowing I could help a little – probably my “best day” in a long time.”
9. Southern Florida Realtors – $1 million
A group of 12 realtors from Keller-Williams in Plantation, Florida won the lottery from their office pool and decided to split it 13 ways. One of the workers elected not to go in on the pool, but the group didn’t feel right about excluding her. Additionally, they decided to give a bit of their winnings to the woman who sold them the winning ticket. Now that’s a nice group of realtors, right?
When the co-workers showed up the next day with the Southern Florida Powerball winning ticket, Jennifer Maldonado thought they were all joking. She was amazed at the generosity of her associates when they told her she would get 1/13th and, coincidentally, has a renewed interest in the lottery. They all walked away with a little over $80,000, which was a nice jolt to their bank accounts.
8. Allen and Violet Large – $11,255,272
In 2010, Allen and Violet Large won $11.2 million and although they were beyond excited, they willingly gave away 98% of it to various charities, like the Red Cross, churches and fire departments. The Large’s outlook on the donations, “What you’ve never had, you never miss.”
Violet became ill with cancer and passed away in 2011, only a year after their big win. A portion of their money was donated to the hospital who took care of her. The Large’s won the Canadian Lottery and are from Nova Scotia.
7. Brian Cabaud and Anneliese Hansen – $75 Million
This cute couple from Marin County are both sheriffs, so perhaps that’s why Anneliese was a little suspicious when Brian told her they won the lottery. In order to prove the win to Anneliese, he asked her to meet him at the Strawberry Chevron Food Mart Valley. The winning series of five numbers came up on the scanner as the big winner of $75,000,000.
Obviously they were ecstatic when it hit them that it was real. “It’s very surreal,” Cabaud said. “We intend to live our lives as normal as possible.” The only thing they knew for sure was their plan to donate money to a fund for four Oakland officers who were shot by a gunman while they were on duty.
6. Donald Damon – 96.6 Million
Donald Damon, from Great Bend, was 70-years-old when he won the Powerball jackpot headquartered in Topeka, Kansas. The background of this story is that his daughter called to tell him someone from their general vicinity won, but she knew it was not her. He asked her to check his numbers and in that moment their lives changed forever.
Donald’s wife, who was working one of her three jobs, was called and told the great news. Clearly, they needed the money. But greed did not take over. The couple was happy to be in a position to contribute $1.1 million to St. Stanislaus Church in Rossville, Kansas, which had an open fund to build a new church.
When they first heard about the 100-year-old building and was told it could not sustain many more repairs, Kathleen Damon wrote a check for $10,000 without so much as a second thought. When they later discovered the new church building was estimated at $2 million, they added $1 million to their donation.
5. William A. Steele, MD – $189 Million
William Steele, MD, father and husband must have some special winning fairy dust or something because not only did he win the Florida Powerball, to the tune of $189 million, he also won $10,000 from a raffle ticket during a charity gala. The doctor-turned-philanthropist turned the $10,000 check back over to the Shepherd’s Hope charity, which was more than surprised.
His immediate promise upon winning the big jackpot was to develop a foundation. After all, he already had a successful dermatology practice before all of his winnings. The William A. Steele Foundation has been successfully opened and Steele has retired from his practice.
4. Neal Wanless – $232.1 million
Neal Wanless was the proud winner of the South Dakota Lottery with the winning amount of $232,100,000. He was in financial straits before the big win so Neal’s response was grateful, “I want to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with this great fortune. I will not squander it.”
The family was in arrears on property taxes and had their mobile home repossessed when Wanless won the ninth-largest jackpot in Powerball history. Neal and his family live on a 320-acre ranch in one of the poorest counties in the country, so when he spent $15 on lottery tickets it was a big risk.
After all was said and done, Neal vowed to give back to the community that had been more than good to his family and friends.
3. Roy Cockrum – $259.8 Million
Roy Cockrum won the largest lottery prize in Tennessee a couple of months ago – a whopping $259 million. He discovered his win when he was on his way to a medical appointment for his mother. “It literally knocked me to my knees,” Cockrum said in his statement. He elected to take the one-time lump sum of $115 million, which is still more money than some of our famous celebrities have.
Cockrum who is 58 years-old intended to take what he might need to fund the rest of his life and took the balance and began giving to charities. When we say he took what he needed, it is interesting to note that he has spent the latter part of his life with The Society of Saint John, which includes a vow of poverty. He is known in some circles as Brother Roy.
Since he was a former theater actor, he has decided to give the largest sum to an arts foundation that he had not named at the time of print.
2. Colin and Chris Weir – $260,026,933 (161,653,000 British pounds)
These two lucky winners won their millions in the EuroMillions lottery in 2011. Without much deliberation the couple donated nearly $4.1 million to the Yes Scotland campaign to encourage an informed debate and election process. Of course, good deeds are often questioned, particularly when onlookers don’t agree with how someone else’s money gets spent. The couple was the focus of reports that stated they were coerced to donate the money to the campaign.
Their statement, “As lifelong supporters of independence, it would be strange if we did not support the Yes Scotland campaign. No one bullied or targeted us.”
1. John Kutey – $319 Million
When John Kutey shared a $319 million win with six other IT specialists in Green Island, New York, he knew there was enough in his share to go around. So he decided to develop a $250,000 water park called Spray Park which replaced an old 70-plus year old park. John’s wife, Linda, was in on the decision when they dedicated the park to their parents and gave the city a new attraction for everyone to enjoy. This is a great example of paying it forward and sharing the wealth.