$429M Powerball winner spends it on community

Powerball winner family of eight from New Jersey claimed a $429.6 million Powerball jackpot on Friday. They pooled their money, and their 70-year-old mother purchased the winning ticket at a 7-Eleven. (May 13) AP

Members of a New Jersey family who pooled their money and won last Saturday’s $429-million Powerball say their winnings will go toward bills and doing good in their communities.

“It was like an affirmation from God because we each have dreams we want to fulfill in our life. It was like we have been funded to do that.” ┬áValerie Arthur of Trenton said during a press conference on Friday at New Jersey Lottery headquarters in Lawrenceville.

Powerball winner matriarch Pearlie Mae Smith bought the winning lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Trenton. Arthur said from a podium surrounded by her mother and six siblings.

The jackpot is $429.6 million, but the family opted for the cash option so they will receive $284 million in a lump sum, as opposed to installments delivered over the years.

It took the family a few days to announce themselves to the public. They wanted to make sure they handled the money wisely. They had their lawyer secure other advisers to help them decide how best to handle such a large cash influx.

“After you pay off your student loans, the mortgages on your house, and after you buy your kids a car or whatever. What are you going to do with the remaining $283 million?” Arthur asked.

Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven children pooled their money and Smith picked the winning numbers — 5, 25, 26, 44 and 66 — based on a dream, Arthur said.

Arthur said her sister, Marsha-Ann Smith, called her and told her they’d won.

“I said, ‘Well stop April fooling me and get off of my phone.’ She said, ‘I’m not. It’s May.’ She said, ‘Listen, I’m not lying.’ ”

One sister, Katherine Nunnally, runs a community mentoring program for girls, Arthur said. Her share of the winnings will help her run the program without having to rely on grants or special scholarships, Arthur said.

“She can go and change lives of her own accord,” Arthur, the oldest of the siblings, said.

As for Arthur, she has been retired from her job as prison administrator for a year. I will figure out the rest after I’ve taken a long trip somewhere, she said.