Anonymous Frenchman wants to encourage human beings to give back to the planet and others
By Kate Northrop
An anonymous Frenchman who won the second-largest EuroMillions jackpot in history back in December 2020 has already given away most of his fortune in a bid to protect the environment.
A French EuroMillions winner of a massive €200 million (US$218 million) jackpot is not interested in fancy cars, huge mansions, or expensive vacations. Instead, he wants to see his money put to use in service of the planet.
In December 2020, the man's winning ticket matched the winning numbers to take home the then-largest EuroMillions jackpot of all time: 6, 9, 13, 24, and 41, with Lucky Stars 3 and 12.
The retiree, named "Guy" by French Lottery group Franҫaises des Jeux (FDJ), knew that he had to share his fortune the very moment he found out about his win.
"The minute I found out I was the lucky winner of the EuroMillions, I had the will to share my luck," he said in an interview with Le Parisien.
In fact, "Guy" has only ever played the lottery with the goal of saving the environment in mind.
"I only played during large jackpots, for one purpose: to devote most of this sum to the creation of a foundation," he wrote to the Fund.
Having crossed the item off his list of things to accomplish, "Guy" set out to start a foundation called the Anyama Endowment Fund, which focuses on "the protection and revitalization of forests, the preservation and regeneration of biodiversity and the support of family caregivers."
"The Anyama Endowment Fund is the result of an imperious desire to act for nature and human beings that I have had for years," he said.
The name "Anyama" comes from a town in the Ivory Coast where the winner witnessed something in his childhood that would leave a lasting impact years later.
"During my life, I have witnessed in [the Ivory Coast] the incessant passage of trucks loaded with trees cut in the forests of Burkina Faso," he told Le Parisien. "The procession of trucks left a deep impression on me and filled me with outrage."
The Anyama foundation will primarily work on areas in France, including the mainland and its overseas territories.
The FDJ lottery group hailed his decision to give away most of his money in service to the planet, lauding it as an exceptional and generous gesture.
"We have never seen an initiative of this size, but there again, we have rarely seen such high winnings," a representative from the French National Lottery said. "Often, these things go hand-in-hand."
Retired in the south of France, "Guy" said he hopes to continue living life "peacefully," but he will continue his work to spread the message that we can preserve the natural environment if we put our minds to it.
"Above all, it is the expression of a conviction that I want to share with as many people as possible: giving makes people happy and constitutes a tremendous lever for transforming indignation into concrete and useful actions," the selfless winner said. "So that's what I'm doing today by creating Anyama, which acts for the benefit of the common good of all, with one watchword: protect the living."