Top of the shopping list for lottery winners are normally houses, cars and lavish holidays but Tennessee’s largest jackpot winner has other plans. Cockrum, who previously worked as an actor and stage manager, vows to use the majority of his Powerball winnings to set up a foundation that will benefit various theatre and performing arts organisations across America. The former Episcopalian monk plans to share his good fortune by donating 10% of his win to his local church and then distributing funds to various charities and organisations.
Cockrum now joins a number of other lottery winners who have donated a large portion of their lottery winnings to good causes. One of the most generous lottery winners is Tom Crist who donated his entire CAD$40 million Lotto Max jackpot prize to various cancer charities in memory of his late wife. He won the prize in May of 2013 but only stepped forward to identify himself as the winner in December 2013. Also in Canada, Allen and Violet Large from Nova Scotia gave away 90% of the CAD$11.2 million they won on the Atlantic Lottery to the hospitals where Violet received treatment for cancer, along with donations to various churches, fire departments and the Red Cross.
Europe also has its share of lottery philanthropists as, in May of this year, one French player scooped a €72 million EuroMillions jackpot and immediately decided to donate €50 million of it to 12 local charities. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, the generosity of EuroMillions jackpot winners continues with Scottish couple Chris and Colin Weir, who won an incredible £161 million in July 2011. Following their win, which was the largest in EuroMillions history, the Weirs have provided £2 million of funding to the “Yes” campaign for Scottish independence as well as establishing the Weir Charitable Trust which supports a number of charitable causes.