There are some lottery winners who used their jackpot to change their lives and communities.
If you have read stories about lottery curse victims, you might worry that buying a lottery ticket isn’t worth it.
Who wants to risk winning a Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot when there is a chance that your windfall will end up in suicide, murder, or financial ruin?
Luckily, while there are many people who don’t know how to handle a sudden windfall, there are even more lottery winners who use their winnings to make a positive difference in their lives and their communities.
Remember, though, that while the lottery curse is no good reason to avoid picking up a ticket, the risk of losing your money might well be. Buying lottery tickets should only be done for fun and to have a dream of winning, not as a serious way to make money or save for retirement. If you can’t afford to lose the money you are spending on your tickets, it’s best not to play.
Here are some lottery success stories that will inspire you to buy a ticket:
- A single mother of five wins a life-changing powerball jackpot
When Cynthia P. Stafford’s brother was killed by a drunk driver, she took in his five children, raising them as a single mother. As if that weren’t enough, she also helped her father make ends meet.
- School teacher uses jackpot money to bring joy to children
Les Robins was a high school teacher who thought it was a shame that kids today don’t grow up doing the kinds of activities he himself had enjoyed as a child: going to camp, swimming, playing sports, and exploring the outdoors.
So when he won a $111 million Powerball jackpot, Robins decided to use the funds to create his own camp to bring joy to kids.
Robins founded Camp Winnegator on 226 acres that he bought with his lottery money, and it operated for over a decade. It provided children a low-cost place to go in the summer where they could horseback ride, craft, swim, and play on the lake. Best of all, the kids had a chance to disconnect from video games and cell phones and get in touch with nature and their real-life friends.
- Florida lottery winner leaves a legacy of good works behind
Sheelah Ryan won $52 million in the Florida State Lottery, which at the time was the biggest individual lottery jackpot ever won. She then spent the last years of her life giving it away.
- Man donates lottery jackpot to fight disease that killed his wife
Most people who win the lottery make plans to quit their job, travel the world, or buy a new house or car. But when Tom Crist won $40 million in a Canadian lottery, he had a very different idea. He donated every single dollar to fight the disease that killed his wife.
Two years earlier, Tom had lost his wife of 44 years, Jan, to cancer. He was retired, had money saved up, and his adult children were doing well. So he decided not to keep any of it for himself at all.
He donated the entire lump sum (and in Canada, lottery winnings aren’t taxed!) to a cancer charity in Calgary. His kids totally supported the idea.
- Family of jackpot winners joins together to improve their city
Pearlie Mae Smith raised her seven children to be aware of how important it is to give back to their community, and those children grew up volunteering in soup kitchens and working in community gardens.
So when the family won a $429 million Powerball jackpot, it was clear to them that they wanted to use this windfall to do even more good for the people around them who were not so lucky.
Although the huge lottery jackpot was split evenly among the eight family members, not all of them quit their jobs. One daughter, for example, decided to continue with her work mentoring other women, and now had the cash to help fund the program.
The family started the Smith Family Foundation to provide funding for grassroots organizations who were working to improve the lives of people in their hometown of Trenton, New Jersey. The foundation’s priorities include education, neighborhood development, Christian education, and supporting youth and families in the Trenton area.
As you can see, many lottery winners are able to do a lot of good with their prizes, both for themselves and for the people around them. There’s no reason why a jackpot has to make you the target of a curse, in fact, in some countries, you can remain anonymous.