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The $200 Million Lottery Plan

On another discussion forum, I brought up the question of what one might do with lottery winnings. We quickly determined that a $1 million lottery isn't really all that much; if you take it as twenty annual payments, after taxes it works out to roughly $35,000 per year. Not exactly "quittin' money," as a colleague of mine would put it.

I proposed $200 million as the amount I would want to win to live as comfortably as I would want while still being able to make the large charitable donations I would enjoy making. And as an exercise for a story once, I worked out a "lottery plan," that is, what steps I would have to take if suddenly winning one of the huge $200 million lotteries.

It made sense to think of myself as the winner, since it's more fun that way. :-)

And, actually, that's one of things lotteries sell, the chance to dream.

So, anyway. The first part of the plan includes switching the answering machine from the listed number to the unlisted number, calling the local police department to hire a 24-hour detail and an escort to lottery headquarters, and then enlisting an accountant, lawyer, and financial advisor for immediate assistance.

But the best part of the plan includes the list of charities that I wish I could donate more money to, and how much I would give to each one. (After buying a large house, mortgage-free, with enough room for a library and comic book collection, of course. And yarn for Nomi.)

I can immediately think of a few theater companies and museums I'd love to fund, as well as a few synagogues and schools I'd like to help out. After that, though, my imagination fails me.

So I pose the question to anyone who wants to play. To where would you donate money if you won the $200 million lottery?


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My synagogue gets first dibs on any donation. Then I would probably give something to The Jewish Museum.

Otherwise, I would have a few carefully selected charities that would include cancer research, environmentalism, Jewish outreach, and fighting poverty. I'd give something to Israeli causes as well, again chosen very carefully.
Then I would probably give something to The Jewish Museum.

I would suggest a "Simon Del Monte" wing. :-)

In my case for early music majors, but choose whatever field is your favorite.
My plan is roughly the same as yours, except my training is good enough where I think I'd rather be unobtrusive and be my own bodyguard. (Krav maga, Army hand-to-hand fighting school, and a Springfield Arms XD 9mm should keep me fairly safe.)

Move into a swankier apartment while I have my house built. Buy a brand-new 2009 Nissan GT-R (0-60mph in 3.4 seconds), and travel a bit.

Donations to:
- the Aliveness Project (a local charity that helps people living with HIV/AIDS)
- the Lance Armstrong Foundation
- the Minneapolis Public Library (for expanded hours)
- local food banks and homeless shelters
- Barack Obama's campaign
- various random people on the street ($500 cash, each)
- others as I think of them
- various random people on the street ($500 cash, each)

Ever hear of the old TV show The Millionaire? It's a similar premise, only with a little more money per person. :-)
Heh. malkaesther and I play this game often. She taught me to keep a spreadsheet of the plan, so I could update as needed. :)
A spreadsheet is a great idea. I think I need to write up my own plan. After all, you never know when the next $200 million lottery will strike.
outside of the shul...
scholarships to my alma mater (undergrad and grad) as well as to local day schools. Cancer, most likely American cencer, will also get donations from us. Some money to go to help training for assistance dogs (may seem like a waste of money for some, but it's really, really important service). I'd have to look at specific jewish charities, but I'd want to make them based in America. As much as I think we should help Israel, as well as jews, there are a lot of others who need our help. Also, Bonei Olam, which is an organization that helps with the cost of fertility treatment for jewish couples. They do amazing chesed. As does A TIME.
does Nomi get an entire room for yearn?
She yearns for a yarn room, so I suspect the yearning would be fulfilled. :-)
it's not so much that $35,000 a year isn't "quittin' money" it's that it's not enough to be RICH for twenty years.

It's sure thing enough to live on. Enough to be able to take whatever free-lance gigs you wanted instead of working full time and on top of that trying to [write, art, craft, whatever].

that said - with the $200 million I would tend to go for close to home food-pantry type charities. Doctors Without Borders. Planned Parenthood. The Jimmy Fund, and Make-a-Wish, and Dana Farber. Certain environmental groups.

I'd set up some kind of gallery/ studio space for crafters in Camberville, someplace where classes could be taught, and materials purchased, with space to art, and maybe a nominal fee to use the space but nothing huge, because space is hard to come by in Boston.

I'd fund education groups.

Sink some serious money into New Orleans.

and on.
No, it's not "quittin' money". Consider what even 2-3% inflation does over 20 years, plus that you'll not be saving much, if any, for after those 20 years are over and the check isn't arriving.

Occurs to me I'm acquainted with someone in this situation (won 1,000,000 paid out over double-digit years in a trivia thing back during the dot.com boom), and if I'm recalling correctly they treat it as a nice supplement to their income but haven't quit their job at all.
Libraries for prisons. At least in this state, prison libraries are made up of donated books, and many of those disappear quickly.
At least the yarn came in third :).

Where would my money go? Alzheimer's research, AIDS research, Breast cancer research, the Episcopal church (and I'd donate straight to the national church, not to my local quasi-Episcopal, but maybe thinking about CANA church), Girl Scouts of America.

Uh, yeah, that about covers it.
Hmm. Interesting question.

I'd first get myself out of debt. Second,I'd do some maintenance around the condo for my own peace of mind. I'd probably travel because I couldn't help myself. And there would be donations, as follows, to Book-It Rep, my favorite local theater company; Best Friends Animal Society, because I support their work worldwide and their no-kill philosophy; Earthwatch; and, I suspect, cancer and heart disease research. Seattle has some of the best research organizations in the country so I'd probably donate locally. And I might donate enough to either support or create a proper library at the local Hillel chapter.
I'd buy some land near a small college town and set up a school to teach sustainable living skills and philosophies. Not that much different from my days working at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod or the Institute for Social Ecology programs in Vermont.

Only better. :)


Assuming $50M in tax, another $50M for charity, and perhaps $10M for a house and its long term operating costs, what does Nomi make with $90M worth of yarn?

Re: Ponderings

A cashmere sweater.

Maybe two cashmere sweaters. :-)
I'd set up my own theater, so my wife could costume all she wants with a real budget and lack of community theater backstabbing politics. I'd also hire my friend JR as a director/tech advisor so he could have a steady job once again.

My father says he has reoccuring nightmares where he wins a big lottery jackpot, is driving to the captiol to claim it, gets in a car wreck, is thrown free unharmed but has a great view of the ticket buring up inside the car.
Two things, both education related.

1) Set up a foundation devoted to creating open source textbooks. A fourth grade math textbook is in the $60-75 range these days, which is ridiculous. Seed the program by hiring folk to write initial, modular, units for K-12, then allow teachers, parents, etc. to add options. Want to modify a module to teach per one of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences? Great! Want to modify it to teach math via sports statistics? Wonderful! Via ponies? No problem!

Of course, there would be gatekeepers, and I'd be trying to avoid Wikipedia-style edit wars and the like. But once up, convince states to allow these (cost-saving) materials, and hook up with print on demand folk to lower the price per book to $10-15, while still free on the Web.

2) Prep schools for extremely smart poor kids. Preferably associated with and very near major universities. The idea is that you've got Ivy quality intellects growing up in ghettos, extremely remote towns, Appalachia, etc. who are being ill served by their very lousy public education systems. Locate such kids, working backwards from high school seniors down, and get them into a school where they're tested for actual competency in different areas and given an individual plan to get up to the levels they should be at, including teaching how to study, etc.

Inspired by the story described in A Hope In The Unseen about a D.C. kid who wanted to go to MIT but while probably smart enough to have done so, his school was so bad he couldn't get in. He ended up at Brown, and the book does cover his freshling year there. To be honest, it's clear that he probably shouldn't have been admitted, based on his raw performance that year, although he improves over the year and the epilogue indicates he then did well. But he came into Brown not even knowing who Winston Churchill was. What I'm envisioning is, at first, a year or more to get such kids on more equal footing when they start college with kids from better schools.
But once up, convince states to allow these (cost-saving) materials

I think you might find that's the most difficult part of the scheme. Some states have very exacting standards and laws regarding what must be in their textbooks, and what must NOT be in their textbooks. And the process for getting a textbook approved for classroom use can take many months.

I read A Hope in the Unseen about a year or two after it came out, and now you have me wondering what eventually happened to Cedric. Fortunately, we have the Internet to tell us, but Suskind's last update (at http://www.ronsuskind.com/newsite/hopeunseen/archives/cat_cedric_jennings.html) is four years old.
My ex-wife's mom and step-dad won $1.3 million at nickel slots in Oregon a few years back. I got a call from them the day after, giving me their new home and cell phone numbers, since, as you proposed in your plan, they immediately changed the numbers because the calls started coming in almost at once.
My ex-wife's mom and step-dad

< Blink >

You were married? I don't think I knew that.

Today, the problem would be even more difficult, what with my presence on the Internet.
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December 2016

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