Winners of $429M jackpot spending the money on their New Jersey community

Pearlie Mae Smith, second right, reacts as she sits with daughters Rene Bethina Smith, third right, and Katherine Nicole Nunnally, right, and five other children, not shown, as they talk about life after winning the lottery Friday, May 13, 2016 in Lawrenceville, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

TRENTON, NY (WCMH) — Last year, Pearlie Smith and her seven children won a $429 million Powerball Jackpot. This year, they are using that money to change lives in their community.

After finding out they won, they first set aside some of the money to take care of their own financial obligations. They then decided to use the rest for a good cause.

“I could have gotten a yacht and never come back, but we just have a heart and mind to do this work,” Valerie Arthur, one of Smith’s daughters, told “It’s a blessing to have the ability to do whatever you want to do in this life and yet you choose to come and help somebody else — that right there is divine intervention.”

Last month, the family opened the Smith Foundation in Trenton, New Jersey. The goal of the foundation is to change their neighborhood.

According to the foundation, the Smith family grew up in a neighborhood filled with drugs and crime. Mrs. Smith tried to steer her children away from that, emphasizing the importance of education.

Since winning, they’ve already donated $16 million towards public schools. They’ve also started a business training program to get the city’s youth ready to enter the workforce. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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