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Science

Man who won $200+ million in European lottery is using it to preserve and revitalize Earth

Man who won $200+ million in European lottery is using it to preserve and revitalize Earth
Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

An anonymous lottery winner is donating nearly all of his Euromillions winnings to save the planet.

Imagine winning enough money in the lottery to be able to do pretty much anything you want. Travel the world in luxury. Buy multiple mansions and expensive cars. Hire a gourmet chef to prepare all of your meals. Yachts seem particularly popular among the uber-wealthy. With more than $200 million, there are few material wishes you couldn't fulfill.

But what if your biggest, truest wish was to save the planet from destruction?

An anonymous Frenchman who won 200 million euros (the U.S. equivalent of approximately $218 million) in the Euromillions lottery in 2020 has chosen to use his winnings to preserve and revitalize Earth. The man, nicknamed "Guy" by French lottery group Françaises des Jeux (FDJ), has not identified himself publicly, but has created a foundation called Anyama, named after an Ivory Coast city, for the purpose of protecting the planet. He shared an open letter on the Anyama website explaining why he's using his windfall this way.


“The Anyama endowment fund is the result of an imperious desire to act for nature and human beings that I have had for years," he wrote (translated from French). "Above all, it is the expression of a conviction that I want to share with as many people as possible: giving makes people happy, and constitutes a tremendous lever for transforming indignation into concrete and useful actions."

He explained how seeing truckloads of trees cut from the forests of Burkina Faso passing through the Ivory Coast (where he had spent several years as a child, according to Le Parisien) impacted him. He wrote that he has always only entered lotteries with "important jackpots," specifically for the purpose of creating a charitable foundation.

"My dream has never been to acquire boats, castles or other sports cars," he wrote, "it is to be useful and to give meaning to this money, with maximum positive impact. So that's what I'm doing today by creating Anyama, which acts for the benefit of the common good of all, with one watchword: protect the living. This is for me the urgency of our time and most certainly of the many years to come, in the interest of future generations."

The focus of action for the foundation revolves around the conservation of forests and revitalization of biodiversity, but also around support for human caregivers as well.

"Family caregivers are an essential link in our society," the Anyama website reads. "Accompanying them also means protecting the living in each of us. People in a situation of dependency linked to age, illness or disability are a significant burden for caregivers. Anyama's 'Caregivers' program will support projects aimed at supporting, training, relieving or welcoming family carers."

Guy sees man and nature as one whose vulnerabilities overlap.

"Man, for years, believed he could exploit nature without taking into account his own membership in this ecosystem, freeing himself from the rules that guarantee its balance," he wrote. "This observation obliges us to 'pay attention to others,' to act to protect and regenerate."

According to Le Figaro, Guy told French newspaper Le Parisien that he has already given most of his winnings to the foundation, and that he would "progressively give almost all" of the money to it. He appears to have no desire for notoriety or recognition, saying he plans to "continue to live peacefully, in the most total discretion."

FDJ told Agence France-Presse that it is not uncommon for winners to be generous with their lottery money, but the proportion Guy is donating to philanthropy is a "great first."

What a refreshing approach to becoming a multimillionaire: Genuine generosity and humility, and a desire to use wealth for the betterment of humanity and our home. Congratulations, Guy. It sounds like you deserved this win.

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