On the 3rd of June, Saturday, the US Powerball jackpot was at an astounding 337 million USD. It must truly be something else if you win such a life-changing sum of money. How exactly does it change your life? Well, let’s see. We caught up with Pearlie Mae Smith who won the 429 million USD Powerball jackpot last year. She shared some information with us about how her life has changed and how she’s using her winnings to make the world a better place.
Pearlie is originally from New Jersey and her Powerball windfall came at just the right time for her. She won her massive fortune in May last year in Trenton. Pearlie has explained the big win as “divine intervention”. A year later, she and her eight children have formed a philanthropic civic-minded foundation.
The Smith family are well-respected within their community and their charity is a grant-making fund that helps struggling individuals in Trenton for many years to come. “I could have gotten a yacht and never come back, but we just have a heart and mind to do this work. It’s a blessing to have the ability to do whatever you want to do in this life and yet you choose to come and help somebody else – that right there is divine intervention,” explained Pearlie. Her daughter, Valerie Arthur also sees this Powerball win as divine intervention.
Being charitable and helping those in need isn’t something new to the family now that they have become super rich. Before their big win, they had a garden in their backyard which they used for the community to host soup kitchens. “I think that seed has always been with us, now we're just aiming to do it on ma much large scale,” said Pearlie.
A key task for Pearlie’s foundation is to invest in organisations and programs that help bring about change and progress. The categories that they will be covering will be education, neighbourhood and development, youth and families. Harold Smith is the program manager and said, “We want 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 rather than just helping them find food or give away food, we can make it so they now have the ability to obtain employment, get their proper education in order to be able to go out and get their own food.”
Helping the community and starting charities is thankfully a popular trend among massive lottery winners. Another example is 40 million CAD Lotto Max winner Tom Crist. He has helped many charities since his big win. Another big winner, Roy Cockrum, donated 1 million USD to the University of Tennessee Medical Centre after winning 259.8 million USD on Powerball.
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