If you won $115 million in the lottery, would charity be the first thing that comes to mind?
As reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Roy Cockrum of Knoxville became the largest lottery winner in Tennessee history last week when he won the Powerball prize of nearly $260 million. He opted for a lump-sum payout of $115 million after taxes and announced that he would be giving most of the money away. (Whether he should have taken the lump sum or opted for the annuity is a different issue.)
Mr. Cockrum lived several years as a member of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic community, during which he took a vow of poverty that he says helped prepare him for his windfall.
He plans to primarily support the performing arts with his winnings and intends to establish a private foundation for the bulk of his philanthropy. Another option for him would be a charitable strategy like this one, previously highlighted in this blog – handy when you have both charitable intent and a large spike of income in a single year as Mr. Cockrum is having.
The Huffington Post covered the story as well, describing Mr. Cockrum as a “former monk.” Watch local news reports here and here.
The odds of winning the Powerball are infinitesimal. But we’ll take a charitable winner like Roy Cockrum any day.