Meet the Lotto Winning Family Using Their $429 Million Jackpot to Fight Poverty

Some people want to get rich to change their family’s lives. Others want to change the world. We’re about to meet an amazing lotto winning family who are doing both at the same time – by using their nine-figure Powerball jackpot to help themselves become poverty-fighting community heroes. Let’s hear their story.

It all started with one of the biggest lottery wins ever…

On May 7th 2016 Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven children won one of the biggest prizes in global lottery history.

Mrs Smith, from Trenton, New Jersey, had entered the $429 million Powerball draw everyone was talking about. And to her immense surprise, she won it.

At the time this was one of the five biggest lottery jackpots in history, and even today it makes the top ten.

Rather than claiming their prize as a series of annuity payments over several years, the Smiths chose to claim a reduced lump sum jackpot that left them with $25 million each. That’s more than enough to make a difference, in our book!

Pearlie Mae Smith, second right, with her daughters. N.J. (Mel Evans / AP)

Then the Smiths set out to help their community

During a press conference after their big win, Pearlie Mae’s daughter, Valerie Author, told reporters:

“It was like affirmation from God because we each have dreams that we want to fulfil in this life, and do for our community and do for each other and for our families and we have been funded to do that.”

Of course, it’s always wise to look after yourself before you start helping others. The Smith family certainly did that, using a portion of their prize money to pay off all their debts, student loads and other financial commitments. With their own affairs firmly in order, they soon turned their attention to spreading their good fortune.

Source: Michael Mancuso | For NJ.com

They set up a Foundation to manage their charitable giving

The Smith Family Foundation was founded just a year after the family’s jackpot win, with a mission “to fund programs that directly affect systems of poverty, so we can help change the systems or change the dynamics that are causing people to be in poverty.”

A statement of the Foundation’s website reads: “Our Mission is to empower our community, cultivate leaders and transform lives by providing funding and leadership development to Trenton based organisations.”

The Smiths’ local community of Trenton (which was briefly the capital of the United States in 1784) has benefitted vastly from the family’s work.

To name a few of its key activities, The Smith Family Foundation provides grants for other local charities, helps young people on their way to higher education, and provides training for other people who are seeking to do good in the community. The latest available news on the charity is that it has launched a new training initiative called “The Smith Family Youth Council”, which aims to develop young people’s leadership skills.

They’re not the only ones with big hearts

Not every lottery winner needs to go quite so far as the Smiths have to help others. However, a heart-warmingly high percentage of winners do use at least some of their money for the greater good.

Research from the Statistic Brain Data Institute suggests 40% of lottery winners increase the amount of money they give to charity, after winning. As we know from the Smith’s story, that increase sometimes amounts to a lot of money.

Which good causes would you help out if you won the jackpot? Let us know in the comments.

Image source: NJ.com