Powerball Jackpot Winner Donates Money to Chicago Theatres

News   Powerball Jackpot Winner Donates Money to Chicago Theatres
Roy Cockrum, who won a $259 million Powerball jackpot — the largest winner in Tennessee history — is donating a portion of his winnings to two Chicago theatres.

Cockrum, who walked away with a lump-sum payment of $115 million, is donating an undisclosed sum to Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, according to the Chicago Tribune. He hopes to support large, extraordinary artistic projects, akin to those produced at London's National Theatre.

The lottery winner, who was a stage manager before joining the Society of St. John the Evangelist for several years, made the announcement at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan March 18.

"I do not intend to fund buildings or endowments or to buy tables at galas," Cockrum said. "And I am well aware that, for an organization without the right infrastructure, huge grants like these can be disastrous. So I intend to support productions at theaters with the capacity to manage and mount them."

Cockrum's first grants will support the Goodman's production of 2666 and Steppenwolf's production of Tracy Letts' Mary Page Marlowe. The size of the grants have not been made public.

"I think society is in trouble when culture is ignored," he added. "People can be duped by the first political wind that blows their way. They can be persuaded to vote against their own self-interest. Culture is what enriches us all. We are all in trouble when the arts are not [funded]."

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