$259 million. That’s more than Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post. It’s way more than Tiger Woods has earned playing golf and double what LeBron James has brought down during his entire basketball career. But $259 million is what Roy Cockrum of Knoxville, Tennessee won in the last Powerball giveaway. And speaking of giveaways, Mr. Cockrum is going to use the money to start a foundation to give away nearly all the money in support of the arts. It’s the largest jackpot in Tennessee history.
Cockrum, a former actor, will take the lump sum of $115 million. If he spends the majority of it, as he intends, on supporting the arts, it will make Roy Cockrum–newly minted millionaire–one of the largest private supporters of the arts in the history of the United States. “It’s going to be my job to work very hard to make sure that every single penny of this prize is a blessing to whoever it touches,” Cockrum said at a conference. In his acting days he appeared in the 1981 movie The Private History of a Campaign That Failed. A lot of arts organizations are now hoping Cockrum’s new campaign will succeed. In addition to his acting past, Cockrum spent time living with a monastic order and once took a vow of poverty.