These Lucky Winners Surprisingly Used Their Money for Good

Written by on January 22, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

Although there are plenty of stories about greed and Ebenezer Scrooge-like behavior as people keep a tight grip on their cash, many other people choose to donate and do charitable work. Over the last few years, our hearts have been warmed by stories such as a nine-year-old who started a charity in order to help the homeless as well as a woman named Jerri Garcia, who, failing to convince local charitable organizations to feed the homeless and hungry, decided to start her own charity instead.

Many people who like to give back and even do volunteer work would like to do more but they are often limited by time or money. But what if you had both? What if you won the lottery or won big on a scratch card or at the casino and you had enough funds to share the wealth and share it out between your friends and family and charity? It's a nice thought but, for some lucky winners, using their money for good is exactly what they did.

3 Lucky Winners Who Did Good Deeds

There's no shortage of lucky winners who have done good deeds with their money, with the last couple of years especially resulting in several of these “feel-good” stories.

In the United States, CNN reports that a woman named Lerynne West won almost $350m from a Powerball lottery ticket and chose to donate much of her winnings to charity. In an interview with comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, West explained that she'd created The Callum Foundation, which is a non-profit that offers grants in core areas including poverty and education. Under The Callum Foundation, West gave half a million dollars to the Travis Mill Foundation, which is a rehabilitation center that supports veterans and their families.

Speaking of veterans, many were delighted to read the story of a British soldier who won big in a Betway slot game. Less than half an hour after he created his Betway account, Jon Heywood won more than £13 million (more than $16 million) playing the animal-themed online slot games, Mega Moolah. Jon's winnings were confirmed as the largest jackpot payout in an online slot and, in a documentary, it's explained how he's used the money to make his dad more comfortable as he battles cancer. He's used the money to renovate houses including homes for the disabled.

Britain's most charitable winner, however, was the late Barbara Wragg. In the year 2000, Wragg won £7.6 million from the lottery and, over the course of two decades, she gave away £5.5 million of that to charity. 17 different charities were able to benefit from her massive winnings, including several hospitals in Sheffield (the hometown of Barbara and her husband Ray), as Barbara herself had spent time working for the NHS.

Why Do Poor People Give Money to Charity?

While it may seem like a rare occurrence that someone would want to give that much money away, it isn't actually as rare as you may think. Many people around the world already donate a lot of money to charity, with the NPT-UK saying that 61% of people in the UK donated to charity last year. In 2016, the average donation was £18 per person.

This interest in making charitable donations is likely to carry over, especially if the lottery or online slot winner was poor before they won those millions. The Guardian explains that poor people give more generously than their rich counterparts, with the least well-off giving approximately 4.5% of their income to charitable causes.

There is a psychological reason for this, notes Psychology Today, with poor people being more compassionate and more sensitive to the needs of others. The idea of focusing on what's going on with other people is referred to as the “contextualist tendency” by psychologists. Perhaps the experiences of the poor and the interest in helping others overcome those obstacles fuels that as well.

Most people won't win the millions. But, it's nice to think that if we did – or if someone we knew won big – they would use the money for a good cause instead of just to live a life of luxury.

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