10 Lottery Winners Who Shared the Wealth

Most of us dream of winning the lottery some day. We automatically think of the nice things we will buy for ourselves – new house, car, etc – and of the relief it will be to finally pay our debts. Many of us also dream of being able to finally help out those people in society who really need our help – whether it is the poor, the elderly, or the sick.

I often wonder if people really do follow through with their intentions of giving to charities once they hit the jackpot. I did some research and have found some very generous lottery winners. They are listed here.

Winner: Sheelah Ryan of Seminole County, Florida

Winnings: $55.16 million in 1988

Donation: Established the Sheelah Ryan Foundation which helps abused woman, gives scholarships to young adults, pays for job training programs and provides Meals on Wheels for the elderly. The foundation gives about $200,000 annually to charities in the Seminole area.

In 1994, Sheelah Ryan died of cancer at the age of 69 but her foundation still lives on.


Winner: Bill and Tina Nguyen of Pierre, South Dakota

Winnings: jackpot was 117 million but opted one lump sum of 39 million in 2006

Donation: $33,000 to local grade school

Donation: $33,000 to a second local grade school

Donation: $32,000 to local Boys and Girls Club

Donation: undisclosed substantial amount to another large undisclosed organization.

Before winning the jackpot, the Nguyen’s owned a local nail salon. They sold it after winning the jackpot and moved away from South Dakota.


Winner: Anonymous schoolteacher from Taiwan

Winnings: Reported as “tens of millions of NT dollars” in 2005

Donation: ALL OF IT went to several cultural and educational programs to help children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The 30 year old single female school teacher occasionally played the lottery for the sole purpose of donating all of her winnings to various charities if she ever won. With a teacher’s salary she was unable to donate much of her money to well deserved charities, so when she did hit the jackpot, she didn’t hesitate to donate every last penny of it.


Winner: Anonymous 23 year old office worker from Taichung, Taiwan

Winnings: NT320 million ($9,864,669 USD) in 2007

Donation: NT25 million ($770,677 USD) to “Light Up the Fire of Life” campaign

Donation: NT1 million ($30,827 USD) to the Children Charity Association

In addition, the generous donor gave NT60,000 ($1,849 USD) to the employee from the lottery stand where he won the ticket. The employee took that money, added an additional NT 40,000 and donated the NT100,000 ($3,082 USD) to the Taichung Family Assistance Centre.


Winner: Vaughn and Jan Sherman from Snohomish County, Washington

Winnings: $8 million USD in 1993

Donation: $8000 annually split between Edmunds Community College (to fund awards for outstanding faculty and staff) and the Dream Foundation which they created to grant college scholarships to Jan’s former students at Martin Luther King Elementary school.

Winner: Chang Tien-you of Taiwan

Winnings: NT100 million (over 3 million USD)

Donation: NT20 million ($616,541 USD) to Creation Social Welfare Foundation

Donation: NT4 milion to various other organizations.

Chang was a volunteer at the Creation Social Welfare Foundation, helping people with very limited means to survive. Hitting the jackpot enabled him to help these people in more ways than he could have ever imagined.


Winner: Janette and Stephen Wright, West Yorkshire, England

Winnings: £1,633,505 (3,224,606.43 USD) in 2007

Donation: Undisclosed amount to Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield.

Winner: Alain Maboussou, Quang Dao and Dung Tran in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Winnings: $365 million split between eight people, totaling 45.6 million each in 2006.

Donation: $6000 to People’s City Mission, a homeless shelter in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Donation: Later, Alain Maboussou donated $15,000 to Siena Francis House homeless shelter, by providing 375 people with a $40 Target gift to buy new clothes and other necessities.

Dao and Dung are refugees from Vietnam and Maboussou is an immigrant who left the Republic of Congo to flee civil war. One of the men stayed at the shelter before hitting the jackpot.

Winner: “Yu Sheng” of Taiwan

Winnings: NT100 million (over 3 million USD)

Donation: NT10 million to Syin Lu Welfare Foundation to be used in the “Community Residence and Life Services Project” which was aimed at making life better for the handicapped population.

Yu Sheng’s desire to help the handicapped came from hearing a story about a student who attended a center for the mentally challenged being violently evicted from the community by residents of the area. As a result, the student was no longer able to enter the community to attend school. Yu-sheng empathized with the student. As a handicapped, he knows that handicapped people face all sorts of difficulties. He wanted to do what he could to help.


Winner: Ray and Barbara Wragg from Sheffield, England

Winnings: £7.6 million (just over $15 million USD) in 2000

Donation: £6 million split between several charities. The main beneficiaries were Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, which specialises in cancer treatment, and Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Donation: In 2003 the couple came to the aid of a group of Second World War veterans whose trip to honor their fallen comrades was in jeopardy after they failed to secure £12,500 in lottery funding. The Wraggs gave 50 veterans enough money to visit Italy in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino.