trenton lottery winner

What a Trenton Family Did When They Won a $429 Million Jackpot

In the Spring of 2016, a family from Trenton won a $429 Million Powerball jackpot. According to, Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven children described the win as “divine intervention” since the winning numbers came to Smith in a dream. She purchased the winning ticket at the 7-Eleven on Chambers Street in Trenton.

So how did the family spend their winnings? Like most people who win the lottery, they did treat themselves to certain luxuries, but unlike many winners, they also decided to give back to the community where they lived.

Each member of the family gave a portion of their winnings to start the Smith Family Foundation, whose mission, according to it’s website, “is to empower (their) community, cultivate leaders and transform lives by providing funding and Transformative Leadership Development workshops to Trenton based organizations.” The foundation’s headquarters is located on West State Street.

Would you do what Pearlie Mae Smith and her 7 children did when they won a Powerball Jackpot?

The Powerball-winning Smith family dedicates a portion of their jackpot to help Trenton, New Jersey

They’ve set up a foundation focused on education, Christian values and neighborhood development

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It’s been a year since the eight members of the Smith family learned they were winners of a $429.6 million New Jersey Powerball jackpot — the largest single jackpot ticket ever sold in New Jersey. And while the shock has worn off, they are now turning to the work of helping others with a portion of their prize money.

The family actually received a lump sum of around $284 million. The $429.6 million prize would have been granted in full only if the family agreed to take it as an annuity paid over 29 years, according to NBC News. After paying bills, student loans, setting some aside as savings and taking care of personal family needs, the family used a portion of their winnings to create the Smith Family Foundation.

The foundation, established shortly after the win, aims to help transform lives by providing resources to residents of Trenton, New Jersey, and surrounding areas.

“We want to fund programs that directly affect systems of poverty so we can help change the systems or change the dynamics that are causing people to be in poverty,” said Arthur Smith, the grandson of Pearlie Smith, the matriarch of the family, in an interview with “Rather than just helping them find food or give away food, we can make it so they now have the ability to obtain employment, get their proper education in order to be able to go out and get their own food.”

According to the foundation website, their family’s upbringing in Trenton inspired them to be of service to others. Pearlie Smith raised her seven children in an environment filled with poverty and drugs, but taught them the value of hard work and the importance of education and treating others with respect. Together, they attended church and kept God at the center of their lives.

It’s part of the reason that Pearlie Smith, 70, also believes it was divine intervention the day she played the winning numbers at a Trenton 7-Eleven. The numbers— 5, 25, 26, 44, 66 and Powerball, 9 — were played after they came to the family in a dream, according to Pearlie Smith’s eldest daughter, Valerie Arthur.

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The foundation will fund grassroots organizations focusing on education, Christian values, neighborhood development, youth and families, and other projects. There will be multiyear grants for organizations willing to participate in a training program during the entire life of the grant cycle, one-year grants for organizations that attend two technical workshops during the grant cycle, and summer programming for organizations that participate in one leadership development training session, according to the site.

“We’re making an investment in our community, and when you make an investment, you expect a return,” Arthur said. “So we want to see what the social return is going to be, what the educational return is going to be, what the transformations in people’s lives is going to be.”

It’s been a year since the eight members of the Smith family learned they were winners of a $429.6 million New Jersey Powerball jackpot — the largest single jac… ]]>