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Lottery winner donates apartment complex to help families in crisis

PowerballPowerball: Lottery winner donates apartment complex to help families in crisis

Winner has given millions to charities since 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Randy Smith, a West Virginia multimillion-dollar lottery winner turned philanthropist, listened Friday to how his donation of an apartment complex is turning into a sustainable community housing program for families in crisis.

Smith, 65, a former Berkeley County sheriff and magistrate, won a $79 million Powerball lottery in August 2010. The total dropped to $44 million after taxes when he opted for a lump-sum payment.

Since then, Smith has been giving away millions to charities, area fire, police and emergency service agencies, local causes and individuals.

In December, 2010, the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle benefited from Smith's largesse when he donated his 24-unit Mega-Apartment Complex in the 4000 block of Winchester Avenue.

A year later he donated the family home in which he grew up to honor of his parents, Edwin W. and Bertha D. Smith, and his late sister, Beverly Diane Smith, who lived in the residence until her death in 2011.

He said during a news conference Friday at the United Way headquarters on 218 W. King St. that he became aware of the shortage of emergency housing for families during his 12 years as a deputy sheriff and eight years as sheriff.

While praising the efforts of emergency shelters like Bethany House and the Union Rescue Mission, facilities for women and men, respectively, both had residency requirements that forced families to be split up.

Illness, loss of employment, fires and other misfortunes caused families to lose their homes. He said he wanted to provide a facility "that would keep families together at the worst of times."

Jan Callen, outgoing president and chief executive officer of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, said Smith's donation of the property — valued at $1 million, plus $100,000 in cash — made it "more than a donation; it made it a mission."

Callen said often when a charity is given real estate "it becomes an albatross around their necks."

The United Way's board of directors agreed to use the donation for a pilot project that would eventually meet Smith's intention of creating an ongoing emergency housing program for families in crisis and keep them in stable housing until their conditions improve.

A committee was formed, a consultant hired and the United Way partnered with the Community Networks, Inc., a local agency with a track record of helping homeless families.

It was new territory for a United Way organization, Callen said.

"Panhandle housing advocates have sought a sustainable solution, and the donation of this property provides the resources to develop one," he said.

Phenix Group LLC, a local property management company, was hired to manage the 24 rental units in the apartment complex.

The facility includes an emergency shelter apartment, nine, one-bedroom and 11, two-bedroom apartments, and the four-unit apartment house. Twenty units are currently occupied. Tenants pay rents that are $200 below market rates.

Rental income is projected to net the United Way's housing program more than $30,000 a year after expenses.

"The message here is that housing underpins everything that the United Way is doing," Callen said.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)


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37 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by mylollipop.
Page 1 of 3

United States
Member #122691
February 6, 2012
331 Posts
Posted: April 22, 2012, 8:41 am - IP Logged

I remember watching this guy on the TV show, he is a truly awesome and amazing person. 

What a great man.

    steph219121's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg
    Dayton OH
    United States
    Member #124697
    March 18, 2012
    251 Posts
    Posted: April 22, 2012, 8:45 am - IP Logged

    We need more people like this man to win!

    Lucky Lady O-H-I-O

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts
      Posted: April 22, 2012, 9:04 am - IP Logged

      That is what I call a REAL donation.  I wonder what 200.00 below market value equates to there?   In my county  the "fair housing market value" is around 600 per month.  I see why folks are without a place to stay. 

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        Republic of Texas
        United States
        Member #57557
        January 9, 2008
        1095 Posts
        Posted: April 22, 2012, 9:27 am - IP Logged

        A big THANK YOU to Mr. Smith for showing people how to do a lottery win right. God bless.



          Mr-Smith's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
          Member #99537
          October 27, 2010
          177 Posts
          Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:03 am - IP Logged

          A big THANK YOU to Mr. Smith for showing people how to do a lottery win right. God bless.

          Your welcome..... lol...Jester Laugh


          Not me but I had to do it........lol

            new york
            United States
            Member #123017
            February 11, 2012
            124 Posts
            Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:12 am - IP Logged

            great way to help others with lottery winnings. i just hope his money gets to where it needs to be and not all in the pockets of greedy people

              Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
              United States
              Member #120504
              December 21, 2011
              534 Posts
              Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:33 am - IP Logged

              Helping the needy,but not the greedy is what winning a lottery should be all about.Way to go Mr.Smith.

              When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

              There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                United States
                Member #73904
                April 28, 2009
                14903 Posts
                Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:36 am - IP Logged

                There are still some good people in this country.

                God Bless Randy Smith.







                "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                            --Edmund Burke



                  surimaribo24's avatar - photo11 zpsfffd70be.jpg
                  NEW YORK. RIVERHEAD
                  United States
                  Member #106371
                  February 17, 2011
                  9712 Posts
                  Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:39 am - IP Logged

                  heads off for mr smith.

                  god bless .


                    CDanaT's avatar - tiger avatar_04_hd_pictures_169016.jpg
                    United States
                    Member #121193
                    January 4, 2012
                    1637 Posts
                    Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:41 am - IP Logged

                    Finally, a great example of a person who won a large amount of money with the common sense to manage it. Constantly giving back and still maintaining a professional demeanor in doing so.....Thanks Randy....I hope to follow your lead within the year.

                    Stay Positive, Believe and good things will come your way

                      dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
                      United States
                      Member #74096
                      May 2, 2009
                      23342 Posts
                      Posted: April 22, 2012, 10:45 am - IP Logged

                      I think what initially drove Smith to donate his family home and especially his 24 unit complex to charity became transformed into something

                      more property management company friendly.

                      His main intentions were excellent and I applaud his kind hearted contribution, I'm sure he will continue in that direction.

                      What bothered me about the article was the fact that 20 of the 24 units are being rented at $200 below market value. The need for emergency

                      housing due to 'illness, loss of employment and other misfortunes' isn't remedied by a reduction of $200 off the going rate. The reasons for need

                      - no job, home destroyed by fire, illness, etc - are devasting to most both emotionally and financially. For most, I'm sure there is no money left

                      to see any benefit in what the ~good people~ at Phenix Group LLC and the United Way's housing program felt was a good thing for those in need.

                      The rental income, generating a net of $30,000 a year after expenses, is the true bottom line. It's an ongoing cycle. It's depressing when good

                      intentions are tarnished by too many cooks spoiling the stew.

                        dpoly1's avatar - driver
                        United States
                        Member #66141
                        October 16, 2008
                        1699 Posts
                        Posted: April 22, 2012, 11:34 am - IP Logged

                        Thank you Mr. Smith!
                        This is how charitable work was done before Wilson's income tax was passed into law.
                        Don't tell me to "prove it", do your own research!
                        Mr. Smith went public with his generosity. Many of the "evil 1%"  do this sort of thing, but do not go public.
                        I wish that the Grammar School whiners would get some maturity & not cry about the wealthy!

                        dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -


                        Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                          dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                          United States
                          Member #82391
                          November 12, 2009
                          6325 Posts
                          Posted: April 22, 2012, 3:23 pm - IP Logged

                          WTG Mr. Smith.......Hurray!

                          I Love Pink & Green 1908

                            Oak Creek WI
                            United States
                            Member #5403
                            July 3, 2004
                            44 Posts
                            Posted: April 22, 2012, 4:28 pm - IP Logged

                            We need more MR. Smiths in this world, whether or not as winners of Lottery winners or people that came into money through their family inheirtance. It's a shame though that, Lottery winners can't take advantage of the Loop-holes the filthy rich do, so they don't have to pay all the taxes the Lottery winners have to pay. Look at Mr Smith he  won $79 million and after taxes he ended up with $49 million, that's  $30 million in taxes they took off, heck Mitt Romney doesn't pay that much taxes on all the millions he makes because of the loop holes he's entitled to, in the millionaire club. But if you win several million dollars you don't fit into that club so that rake you over the coals. Go figure.