Powerball winner Jack Whittaker has temporarily shut down his philanthropic organization's Web site to allow staff to catch up on thousands of requests for financial help, an employee said Tuesday.
Whittaker established the Jack Whittaker Foundation after winning the $314.9 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day, the largest undivided jackpot in the game's history. The Scott Depot resident was a millionaire businessman before he claimed his winnings as a $113 million cash option.
The foundation has given away about $4 million, and continues to get about 1,000 requests for money each week. Because of the volume, it stopped taking new requests in June. It will begin taking requests again when the staff gets caught up, said a foundation spokeswoman who did not want to be identified.
"At this time, the foundation cannot determine when the Web site will be back up," the foundation said Tuesday in a news release. The foundation is operated out of Whittaker's contracting company, Diversified Enterprises. The foundation also announced Tuesday that it has stopped using Charles Ryan Associates, a Charleston public relations firm.
"I think we did a good job communicating the goals of his foundation and setting up his Web site," said Bill Bissett, who worked for the foundation at Charles Ryan. "He has decided to take it in-house and we wish him all the best."