Family is using their $429 million Powerball winnings to give back to the community

Winning millions of dollars in the lottery is pretty rare, yet we’ve all thought about how we’d spend the money if we won. The Smith family is no different, except for the fact that they actually hit the jackpot!

The Smiths won a $429 million Powerball prize last year, and they’re working to make sure they use as much of their winnings as they can in the most charitable ways possible.

Giving Back To Others

No fancy cars or extravagance for this family. Instead, the mother, Pearlie Mae Smith, and her seven adult children reportedly split the money, worked to pay off student loans and see to other financial obligations. Then, they pooled together what was left to do something great.

They’ve started the Smith Family Foundation, a grant-giving organization that’s working to make Trenton, New Jersey a great city.

According to the Huffington Post, after winning the lottery last year, the family promised to give back to their community.

“It was like affirmation from God because we each have dreams that we want to fulfill in this life, and do for our community and do for each other and for our families and we have been funded to do that,” one of the children, Valerie Arthur, said during last year’s press conference.

She also, humorously, mentioned that when she got the call from her mother that they’d won the jackpot, she thought it was an April Fool’s prank.

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The Smiths chose to make Trenton a better place, mainly because they want to give back to the city they were raised in.

“The seeds for the foundation were planted decades ago in the South Side of Trenton, where Seamon and Pearlie Smith raised their children on values of hard work, love of God, and giving back,” the Smith Foundation’s website states. The Foundation had its grand opening on June 10, the highlights of which were captured in a Facebook video:

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Now that the family foundation is fully underway, they’ll be giving money to organizations that can make a difference in Trenton, and that can help create a better future for the city. The organization’s core values are education, cultivation, transformation and urban ministry.

Who They’re Looking To Help

“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,” Harold Smith, the foundation’s program manager, told “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.”

But this isn’t just for Trenton. It’s for everyone who lives there.

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“We’re making an investment in our community and when you make an investment, you expect a return,” Arthur told “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.”