He just won a $259.8 million Powerball jackpot, but Roy Cockrum of Knoxville, Tennessee, isn't dreaming of paying off his mortgage or going on a trip around the world. Cockrum had taken a vow of poverty, and he will use most of his new money to start a foundation.
Officials say that this is the largest prize ever in the history of the Tennessee Lottery. Cockrum, 58, decided to take the lump-sum payment of $115 million after taxes, and will use it to bolster performing arts organizations across 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," he said during a press conference Thursday.
Cockrum previously was an actor and stage manager for television and theater, and is now a member of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, a Massachusetts-based Episcopal religious community that asks participants to take "lifelong vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience in an enduring fellowship." Although lots of people are dying to know why a man who took a vow of poverty purchased a lottery ticket, he didn't make any mention of it during his press conference.