The Most Charitable Lottery Winners Ever

We all dream about winning a huge jackpot. What would you do with the prize? Many winners buy gorgeous new properties and go on fabulous holidays around the world. Some winners, however, stun the entire world by giving their millions away.

Roy Cockrum – $259.8 Million

So a monk walks into a store and buys a lottery ticket… no, this isn’t the start of a joke. Roy Cockrum, a former monk and stage actor, bought a Powerball ticket in June 2014 with the sole purpose of donating to charity. Perhaps a higher power really was on his side, because his ticket matched the winning numbers and he took home a jackpot worth $259.8 million, the largest win in Tennessee lottery history. True to his word, Cockrum set up a foundation that will donate all the money via grants to various charities and organisations. So far the foundation has given large grants to Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres and Doctors Without Borders. Chicago’s theatre scene is tremendously important to Cockrum as he studied and acted there before becoming a monk.


Tom Crist – CAD$40 Million

Just like you wouldn’t expect a former monk to play the lottery, a millionaire buying a lottery ticket just seems wrong. Tom Crist is a retired CEO of EECOL Electric, a Canadian electric company which was sold for $1.4 billion. Like Cockrum, Crist played with the intention of donating any winnings. On 3 May 2013, Crist played Lotto Max and won CAD$40 million, Calgary’s largest jackpot win. He donated every bit of the jackpot to various cancer charities and treatment facilities in memory of his beloved wife Jan, who died of cancer at age 57. Hopefully, due to his immense generosity, many families will be spared the pain of losing their loved ones to this awful disease.

Margaret Loughrey – £27 Million

Margaret Loughrey was an unemployed 48-year-old in Northern Ireland when she decided that it was time for her luck to change for the better. Living on benefits totaling £58 a week, Loughrey purchased a EuroMillions ticket on the way to the Job Centre. That ticket won her a £27 million EuroMillions jackpot in December 2013. She decided that £1 million was all she needed and the rest would go to help her community and people in need. While she’s had some run-ins with the law after her win, she’s kept to her word and announced that half the money has already been donated.

Sheelah Ryan – $55 Million

Sheelah Ryan made history in 1988 when she won $55 million playing the Florida Lotto. At the time this was the US’s single largest lottery win. Obviously with jackpots reaching over a billion dollars, this record is no longer intact, but Ryan’s impact is still being felt to this day. Ryan, a real estate broker, set up the Ryan Foundation which gave away all the money to charities supporting underprivileged children and single mothers, victims of abuse, and stray animals. Sheelah Ryan died in 1994 at age 69 after battling cancer, but her charitable spirit lives on.


László Andraschek – Ft636 million

László Andraschek from Hungary was… well, hungry. For seven years, the recovering alcoholic had been living in a homeless shelter. He got better and moved into an apartment, but was way behind paying rent and in danger of eviction. He spent the last of his money on a lottery ticket in September 2013, a purchase that would change his and many others’ lives forever. He won 636 million Hungarian forint (roughly £1.7 million) and was able to pay off his debts and purchase homes for himself and his family. He and his wife also decided to donate a large portion of the jackpot to help people in need, though their contribution goes far beyond money. They’re now devoting their lives to bringing attention to the plight of Hungary’s homeless, helping tens of thousands of people get back on their feet.

Chris and Colin Weir – £161.7 million

Whether or not you agree with their politics, there is no denying that the Weirs have been incredibly generous since their record-breaking £161.7 million EuroMillions win in July 2011. The Weirs made it clear that the money belonged to the people of Scotland, not to themselves alone. Most of the jackpot has gone to the Scottish independence campaign and various other charities and sports clubs in Scotland via the Weir Charitable Trust.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you give to charity? Travel the world? Make your dreams come true? Luckily now playing the world’s biggest lotteries, entering the most exciting draws and trying your luck at the largest jackpots the lotto universe has to offer is perfectly possible! On, you can play US Powerball online, you can become a part of the most fervent European lottery event – EuroMillions SuperDraw or join other lotto fans playing syndicate.