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Powerball lottery winners give back

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Powerball lottery winners give back
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Powerball winners Steve and Carolyn West and Frances Chaney create foundations to help children, veterans and the poor

Powerball winners Steve and Carolyn West and Frances Chaney are giving away portions of their multi-million-dollar prize to benefit local children and other worthy causes.

Both the West Family Foundation and the Robert & Frances Chaney Family Foundation seek to support nonprofit organizations that serve poor children and families in Southern Oregon.

"We'd been in some of those situations ourselves before the lottery," Carolyn West said, recalling financial struggles after her husband lost his job and their oldest daughter, Erin, was diagnosed with diabetes.

"We just want to give back," she said. "We don't expect anything in return."

The Wests won a $340 million prize together with Chaney and her husband, Robert, who died less than a year after accepting his winnings in November 2005. Frances Chaney, who bought the winning ticket, is Carolyn West's mother. They took a one-time lump sum payment of $164.4 million and divided it among nine family members.

The Wests disclosed plans to establish a charitable foundation almost immediately after winning the jackpot in October 2005. Their West Family Foundation opened its doors in April with $10 million in seed money. The foundation likely will disperse $250,000 in its first open grant process, which starts Friday.

The Wests lived in a modest west Medford home before Powerball granted them financial independence. Carolyn West, 49, worked for Laidlaw Transit Co. and Steve West, also 49, was a self-employed landscaper.

The Wests, who now live in rural Central Point, already have donated to North and South Medford high schools' pay-to-play programs and weightlifting rooms, said Carolyn West. But their philanthropy is expanding to include social service groups, said Carrie Hanson, executive director for both foundations.

"The list of things we're not interested in funding is pretty small right now," Hanson said.

The foundations together are disbursing about $300,000 to 11 local organizations following applications submitted earlier this year at the families' invitation, Hanson said. Grants were awarded to: ACCESS Inc., Be One for Kids, Children's Advocacy Center, Community Works' Dunn House, Food & Friends, The Gleaning Network, Kids Unlimited, Rogue Valley Family YMCA, The Salvation Army, SMART and Southern Oregon University Foundation.

Future awards will be based on how the families' investments fare, Carolyn West said. However, neither family has been prone to extravagant displays of wealth Frances Chaney bought the winning Powerball ticket at Ray's Food Place in Jacksonville.

"We just still try to keep the simple life," Carolyn West said.

"We've not joined the country club," Chaney said.

"I still look for bargains," she added.

The Wests and Chaney each bought a house within about a mile of each other and a few new vehicles. Both families have traveled a bit, the Wests to Italy and Switzerland with their two daughters and Chaney on trips with her other four children. A more sobering trip last Christmas took the family to Hawaii following Robert Chaney's death last Oct. 2 at the age of 73.

He died at Rogue Valley Medical Center from a brain injury he suffered after he fell and hit his head. Frances Chaney said her husband had suffered lingering weakness after he broke his pelvis in 2004, and then badly burned one of his feet. He had diabetes and a history of heart problems, she said.

In honor of Robert Chaney's military service during the Korean War, the Chaneys' foundation also will support veterans' causes along with public safety and faith-based organizations, Frances Chaney said. However, the foundation is not accepting grant proposals at this time because funding efforts will be focused in Missouri's Barry County, where the Chaneys lived before moving to Jacksonville, and areas surrounding Robert Chaney's hometown in Cabell County, West Virginia.

Grant applications for both foundations can be found online after June 1, Hanson said. The deadline to apply for West Family Foundation fall awards is Aug. 31. No grants will be given to individuals.

For more information or to apply, visit the Web sites www.familyfoundationwest.org and www.familyfoundationchaney.org, or call Hanson at 899-9976.

Carolyn West, left, and Frances Chaney talk about using their lottery winnings to create foundations to provide financial support for organizations that help children and families.

Carolyn West, left, and Frances Chaney talk about using their lottery winnings to create foundations
to provide financial support for organizations that help children and families.

Powerball winners Steve West and Bob Chaney (in wheelchair) along with their families, celebrated their big lottery win during a press conference in Salem in November 2005.

Powerball winners Steve West and Bob Chaney (in wheelchair) along with their families, celebrated
their big lottery win during a press conference in Salem in November 2005.

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17 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by DoubleDown.
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Englewood, Colorado
United States
Member #19108
July 25, 2005
51 Posts
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Posted: August 17, 2007, 4:10 pm - IP Logged

What a great story! There's nothing else to be said.

    wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

    United States
    Member #15143
    May 10, 2005
    414 Posts
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    Posted: August 17, 2007, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

    Thanks for giving to the community! Wishing your investments do well so you can keep it up. Thumbs Up

      stavros's avatar - avatar 6898.gif
      Florida
      United States
      Member #6147
      August 8, 2004
      1396 Posts
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      Posted: August 17, 2007, 4:30 pm - IP Logged

      It makes me feel good to see someone actually giving back!

      Good Luck!

      Stavros

       

        Avatar
        Coastal Georgia
        United States
        Member #2653
        October 30, 2003
        1866 Posts
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        Posted: August 17, 2007, 4:55 pm - IP Logged

        This is good to see after all the stories we hear about the winners that do stupid things.

         

                                       

                      

         

         

          tnlotto1's avatar - logo
          nashville
          United States
          Member #49896
          February 18, 2007
          1181 Posts
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          Posted: August 17, 2007, 5:34 pm - IP Logged

          This is good to see after all the stories we hear about the winners that do stupid things.

          I Agree! this is a great story

            TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
            A long and winding road
            United States
            Member #17084
            June 10, 2005
            4533 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 17, 2007, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

            Quite the intrigueing story.

            Public view will be that of honor and duty.

            Accounting view- give to charity or let the govt take it.

            Legal view- ya cant take it to your grave- 

            Financial manager- roll over monies have to go somewhere. 

            My view- They are investing in community causes and placing there name on the line . I'm a beleiver in giving quietly and annonymously. Keeps my spirit lifted without being held in judgement by others on whether I give or don't. 

            ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

            christmas holly jolly numbers: 255,303,6911, 474,477 silver:47,gold:79.

              LuckyLilly's avatar - savy chick.png

              United States
              Member #50124
              February 26, 2007
              601 Posts
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              Posted: August 17, 2007, 7:44 pm - IP Logged

              Quite the intrigueing story.

              Public view will be that of honor and duty.

              Accounting view- give to charity or let the govt take it.

              Legal view- ya cant take it to your grave- 

              Financial manager- roll over monies have to go somewhere. 

              My view- They are investing in community causes and placing there name on the line . I'm a beleiver in giving quietly and annonymously. Keeps my spirit lifted without being held in judgement by others on whether I give or don't. 

              You know, that was my first reaction too, when reading the article.  I was always taught you should give quietly.  But I've found alot of things I was taught growing up are just plain wrong.  Yes Nod

              So then as I read thru the replies and saw how heartwarmed everyone was, I changed my view.  Deepak Chopra has convinced me that our main purpose in life is to make others happy.  So when you give you make yourself happy and the person/people you give to.  If publicizing the giving makes a whole bunch of others happy, isn't that a good thing?

                TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
                A long and winding road
                United States
                Member #17084
                June 10, 2005
                4533 Posts
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                Posted: August 18, 2007, 1:17 am - IP Logged

                Giving to causes that create a positive result isnt a negative comment. I support that part. I disagree that a person needs to divulge such to others to gain approval or non approval. As to making others happy, the best one can do is have a positive AFFECT on them. Being financially influential doesnt hurt either :)

                Best to this family in there endeavor to create a positive affect on the community!

                ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

                christmas holly jolly numbers: 255,303,6911, 474,477 silver:47,gold:79.

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                  Wandering Aimlessly
                  United States
                  Member #25360
                  November 5, 2005
                  4461 Posts
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                  Posted: August 18, 2007, 1:35 am - IP Logged

                  I agree with both of you, GameGrl & Lilly.   We are not supposed to brag about the good deeds we do, however, most charities need publicity to encourage others to donate to it.  So there are fundraisers and newspaper articles and public appearances, which always draw attention to the philanthropists.  I don't think Paul Newman would have put his face on a spaghetti sauce label if he didn't think it would help raise money for the Hole in the Wall camps.

                  That said, if I remember correctly, the Wests were the people who appeared on the Today Show or one of those morning TV talk shows and were very obnoxiously making the grand tour after their win.

                    Avatar
                    North Brunswick NJ
                    United States
                    Member #39013
                    May 8, 2006
                    12225 Posts
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                    Posted: August 18, 2007, 8:27 am - IP Logged

                    May others big winners be so charitables as these good hearted people.

                    May God bless them.

                      Avatar
                      New Member

                      United States
                      Member #54371
                      August 16, 2007
                      9 Posts
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                      Posted: August 18, 2007, 10:21 am - IP Logged

                      Hurray!

                       

                       

                      Big Grin

                        Avatar
                        New Member
                        portland, oregon
                        United States
                        Member #54263
                        August 12, 2007
                        14 Posts
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                        Posted: August 18, 2007, 4:29 pm - IP Logged

                        its a shame that the old man died. but at least he got to experience the big win. and good thing he was married or else the gov't would have taken half of his estate.

                          RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                          mid-Ohio
                          United States
                          Member #9
                          March 24, 2001
                          19831 Posts
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                          Posted: August 18, 2007, 8:31 pm - IP Logged

                          I've been giving ever since I started playing the lotteries over 20 years ago, if I ever win big the lottery would be giving back to me.  I would probably continue to play and buy even more tickets so in a way I would be giving back but I wouldn't tell anyone about it.

                           * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                             
                                       Evil Looking       

                            Avatar
                            Oak Creek WI
                            United States
                            Member #5403
                            July 3, 2004
                            44 Posts
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                            Posted: August 19, 2007, 1:13 am - IP Logged

                            Yes but wether you believe it's right or wrong to put it on the front page that you gave so much to charities and celebraties do it all the time.

                            It's a welcome relief to see a Lottery Winner of such a large sum actually doing some good with thier money instead of using it for illicit purposes.

                            My Hat goes off to this family for doing good things with thier money and Brag away let others that win the Lottery know that others can benefit from your winning that are less fortunate.