A lucky family from Trenton, New Jersey won the jackpot last year when they brought home $429 million after hitting the Powerball. The Smith family — Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven children — became the envy of almost everyone in America when news broke that they were about to cash in on a huge payout. However, they made it clear that they weren’t going to use the money to ball out and make it rain; they were going to invest in their community.
“It was like affirmation from God because we each have dreams that we want to fulfill in this life, and do for our community and do for each other and for our families and we have been funded to do that,” Valerie Arthur, one of Smith’s daughters, said during press conference.
Lottery winners have the option of receiving a check every year or taking their payment as a lump sum. The family opted for the latter and after taxes they each took home about $25 million. That ain’t too shabby if I don’t say so myself. They paid off all of their bills and loans (because you know Sallie Mae don’t play), and then they invested their money in the Smith Family Foundation.
The organization will help the Trenton community by funding education, aiding children and families, and developing and improving neighborhoods in the city.
“The Smith Family Foundation is a private grant-making Institution, founded in Trenton, NJ in 2016,” their website reads. “Our Mission is to Empower our community, Cultivate leaders and Transform lives by providing Funding and Leadership Development to Trenton based organizations.”
Pearlie Mae Smith raised her family in an area plagued with gang violence, but she worked hard for the public school district and made sure her kids were in church every Sunday and understood what it means to have a valuable education.
“Rather than just helping them find food or give away food, we can make it so they now have the ability to obtain employment, get their proper education in order to be able to go out and get their own food,” Harold Smith, the foundation’s program manager, said.