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Here's what N.J. family that won $429M jackpot is doing with its money

May 31, 2017, 4:11 pm

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Here's what N.J. family that won $429M jackpot is doing with its moneyRating:

TRENTON, N.J. — A year ago this month, the Smith family's lives changed in an instant when they won the $429.6 million Powerball jackpot.

The family of eight — matriarch Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven adult children — didn't throw away the money on expensive new houses or luxury sports cars or write checks willy-nilly to the dozens of long-lost friends and relatives who came out of the woodwork.

Sure, they treated themselves, but from the beginning, they knew they wanted to do something meaningful with their newfound wealth.

Since they chose the cash option, their prize came to about $284 million and was split eight ways.

(See NJ family of 8 claims $429.6 million Powerball lottery jackpot, Lottery Post, May 13, 2016.)

The family members each gave a portion of their winnings to help start the Smith Family Foundation, a grantmaking fund with which they hope to give back and make a difference in their hometown of Trenton and elsewhere for years to come.

Just as it was "divine intervention" that inspired Smith to pick the winning numbers, the family says it's that same faith in God that continues to help guide them in their decisions.

"I could have gotten a yacht and never come back, but we just have a heart and mind to do this work," said Valerie Arthur, one of Smith's daughters. "It's a blessing to have the ability to do whatever you want to do in this life and yet you choose to come and help somebody else — that right there is divine intervention."

Arthur said the importance of giving back was a lesson they learned at a young age, from starting a garden in their backyard for the community's use to volunteering at the soup kitchen.

"I think that seed has always been with us... but after winning the lottery, we're able to do it on a much larger scale now than we have in the past," Arthur said.

Harold Smith, Arthur's nephew and the foundation's program manager, said that rather than simply giving away money to anyone who asks, they see themselves as investing in organizations and programs that will bring about long-term change in categories like education, neighborhood development and youth and families.

"We want to fund programs that directly affect systems of poverty so we can help change the systems or change the dynamics that are causing people to be in poverty," he said. "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."

He said they want to partner with organizations that share their core values of education, cultivation, transformation and urban ministry.

"When people think of the city of Trenton, we don't want the first thing they think of to be gangs and violence," he said. "We want people to think of a vibrant city, a city that's on the upswing, a city that's bringing new life into the community, the capital of the state."

Funding will range from small-impact grants and summer programming to one-year and three-year grants.

"We're making an investment in our community and when you make an investment, you expect a return," Arthur said. "So we want to see what the social return is going to be, what the educational return is going to be, what the transformations in people's lives is going to be."

Katherine Nunnally, another of Smith's daughters who for 15 years has led a program to mentor young women in Newark, serves as the executive director and is training her siblings as well as her nieces and nephews on how to run a foundation.

"The foundation is a legacy for the family," Harold Smith said.

A grand opening of its headquarters at 407 W. State St., Trenton, will be June 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, visit smithfamilyfoundationnj.org.

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NJ, Lottery Post Staff

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44 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by golfer1960.
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Mayor McCheese's avatar - Lottery-063.jpg
Frisco TX
United States
Member #69142
January 5, 2009
605 Posts
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Posted: May 31, 2017, 4:36 pm - IP Logged

I love to hear stuff like this

"Don't give up don't EVER give up."

    eddessaknight's avatar - nw paladin.jpg
    LAS VEGAS
    United States
    Member #47728
    November 22, 2006
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    Posted: May 31, 2017, 4:40 pm - IP Logged

    I love to hear stuff like this

    Good news about good people making good use of their devine gifted resources.

     

    God Bless

    Eddessa_Knight Sun Smiley

      Artist77's avatar - batman14

      United States
      Member #121741
      January 16, 2012
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      Posted: May 31, 2017, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

      This is exactly what I want to do. Grants are the best way to go.

      Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

        whiteballz's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
        Nutley, New Jersey
        United States
        Member #131054
        August 1, 2012
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        Posted: May 31, 2017, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

        Good for them. Not gonna lie though, if I ever won the jackpot, I'm going to Vegas.

        .

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #141030
          April 2, 2013
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          Posted: May 31, 2017, 4:49 pm - IP Logged

          This family has a good head on their shoulders, figuratively speaking. Stay blessed. Thumbs Up

          Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

          Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #164719
            March 12, 2015
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            Posted: May 31, 2017, 5:08 pm - IP Logged

            Good luck to them. They need to be careful. After all the federal and state taxes are paid, divided by 8, they are left with about $18.6 mil each.  I know it sounds like a lot but over the remainder of their lives and providing for their own children, it disappears. If they stick to their plans of small grants, hopefully they can improve a lot of lives.   

              music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
              Fresno, California
              United States
              Member #157851
              August 2, 2014
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              Posted: May 31, 2017, 5:28 pm - IP Logged

               Trenton, New Jersey should be proud of this foundation. I am certain that the New Jersey Lottery is loving this story. US Flag

               "We are all in this together!" 

                Forluckyme77's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                New Member
                Cincinnati
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                March 16, 2017
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                Posted: May 31, 2017, 6:43 pm - IP Logged

                That's wonderful and their blessings will continue. One  awesome family!

                  walkman's avatar - nYAbth
                  FL
                  United States
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                  September 2, 2006
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                  Posted: May 31, 2017, 7:04 pm - IP Logged

                  It's great that they are sharing the wealth and trying to narrow economic inequality in their area. But I wonder how they get a return in investment with a grantfunding?

                  I'm amazed by how much impact you can have in society when you hit six figures.

                    KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
                    NY
                    United States
                    Member #23834
                    October 16, 2005
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                    Posted: May 31, 2017, 7:07 pm - IP Logged

                    "the Smith family"

                    What a convenient name for a lottery winner.

                    "Pearlie Mae"

                    What an inconvenient first name for a lottery winner whose last name is Smith.

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #19222
                      July 27, 2005
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                      Posted: May 31, 2017, 7:27 pm - IP Logged

                      What a great(ful) graceful family.  An inspirational way to make use of a mega jackpot win.

                        dpoly1's avatar - driver
                        PA
                        United States
                        Member #66139
                        October 16, 2008
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                        Posted: May 31, 2017, 7:35 pm - IP Logged

                        Very nice

                        That's their choice

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

                         

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

                          Avatar
                          Chasing $ Millions.
                          White Shores- California
                          United States
                          Member #136473
                          December 12, 2012
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                          Posted: May 31, 2017, 7:49 pm - IP Logged

                          Good luck to them. They need to be careful. After all the federal and state taxes are paid, divided by 8, they are left with about $18.6 mil each.  I know it sounds like a lot but over the remainder of their lives and providing for their own children, it disappears. If they stick to their plans of small grants, hopefully they can improve a lot of lives.   

                          I Agree! and it appears that they took your advice into consideration beforehand Redd. Note this: " The family members each gave a portion of their winnings" so for argument sake lets say they threw in $2 mil a piece, that makes $16 mil total. Enough to run a foundation with a keen eye on how it is operated.Each member is left with $16 mil, enough to live off with prudent investing.

                           * Voice of Reason *   

                           

                          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                            TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                            A long and winding road
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                            June 10, 2005
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                            Posted: May 31, 2017, 9:16 pm - IP Logged

                            they are teaching folks how to fish (so to speak).

                            Best way to save a community is to provide for yourself and be one less burden on others. They are lightening the burden I suppose.

                            7072 8557 6011 4337

                            I was addicted to the hokey pokey, then I turned my life around .