Lottery winners get more than just a paycheck. For weeks after they’ve won these lucky individuals dominate the spotlight and the national news. You’ve probably come across some rather amazing stories about lottery winners spending their newfound wealth in eccentric ways.
While some winners go on to live a life they’ve always dreamed of, buying property and traveling around the world, others prefer spending it in more socially-conscious and charitable ways. Here are five amazing women who won the lottery and decided to spend it all for the greater good:
1. Sheelah Ryan
Sheelah Ryan won the lottery when she was 63 years old. After years of buying tickets, she finally won $55.2 million at the Florida Lottery in 1988, making her the largest individual lottery winner in the country’s history. Upon claiming the winning in annuity payments for the next twenty years, Sheelah decided to quit her job as a real estate agent and set up a foundation with the money. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer six years later. Nevertheless, the Ryan Foundation is still well-funded with her lottery winnings and helps low-income single mothers with monthly rent payments.
Ryan said she thanked god when she won, not because of the sudden wealth but because of the empowerment to help others.
2. Hilda Floyd
Idaho Lottery’s Million Dollar Raffle winner Hilda Floyd won a humble $1 million back in 2011. Floyd claimed she knew within seconds of the announcement what she wanted to do with the money – help others. She spread out the winnings between family members, a number of charities and her church. Altogether, Floyd spent nearly 90% of the winnings helping charitable causes.
3. Julie Leach
Julie Leach was toiling away at a Fiberglass factory in 2015, spending most nights at work in what she described as “dirty, nasty” conditions, when her luck changed forever. After years of participating in the office lottery pot and buying nearly $20 worth of tickets regularly, she finally won a fantastic fortune playing the US Powerball. The grand prize of $310.5 million was enough to make her quit her job right away. Julie used the money to pay off her mortgage and buy a plot of land in Michigan. She intends to use the rest of the money to secure her children’s financial future.
4. Margaret Loughery
Margaret Loughery was unemployed when she won £27 million in the Euromillions lottery in Northern Ireland. The 48 year-old decided to keep only £1 m for herself and spend the rest of the money improving her town’s infrastructure and amenities to provide jobs in her local town of Strabane.
5. Gloria McKenzie
A simple polite gesture changed Gloria McKenzie’s fortune in 2013. While at a Florida supermarket, the player in front allowed her to jump the line and buy a Quick Pick ticket. That winning ticket unleashed a windfall of the largest undivided lottery win in US history – $590 million. Although Gloria hasn’t decided what to do with the money, she has already spent $2 million fixing the roof at her hometown’s high school.
These amazing women turned their good fortune into a driving force for change. They serve as an inspiration for millions of lottery players across the world.