A French man who scored €200 million ($217 million) in the EuroMillions lottery decided to use his massive winnings for the greater good.
The winner, only known as “Guy,” gave away most of his fortune to save the Earth by fighting climate change.
Guy is reportedly a retiree who lives in the south of France. He already had an interest in environmental protection long before winning the jackpot.
“From my point of view, the priority today is saving the planet,” he told Le Parisien. “We must act. It is an absolute emergency. If nothing is done in this regard, all other actions will be in vain. We will no longer exist.”
He created an endowment fund to “support and act with those who want to protect the living and the links that unite man and nature in the long term.”
This led to the creation of the Anyama Foundation, named after a city in Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, where Guy is assumed to have lived. The organization aims to reduce the impact of climate change and protect the global environment.
After constantly seeing trucks loaded with cut trees passing by Ivory Coast, Guy was “outraged” and was moved to do something for the environment.
“The Anyama endowment fund is the result of an imperious desire to act for nature and human beings that I have had for years,” Guy wrote in an open letter posted on the foundation’s website.
“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 continued.
According to Guy, the money donated will be used to prohibit logging, protect and restore forests, and boost biodiversity in the mainland and overseas territories in France.
The lucky draw happened on December 11, 2020, but the details of his win only came out recently. Guy said that he only played during large jackpots with one goal: to use most of his winnings to create a foundation.
He won the lottery with the numbers 6, 9, 13, 24, and 41, and his lucky stars were 3 and 12.
At the time, Guy won the largest prize in EuroMillions history. Two players from Switzerland and Tahiti have since surpassed his win. They respectively won €210 million ($228.35 million) and €220 million ($239.22 million) in 2021.
La Française des Jeux (FDJ), the French public company that manages lottery and sports betting, later confirmed the exceptionally generous move. However, it wasn’t revealed how much money Guy earmarked for the organization.
“Seeing the happy people around me is the greatest reward. When the money falls from the sky, something must be done with it to help those who are not so lucky. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense,” he said, as reported by The Connexion.
Isabelle Cesari, the person at FDJ in charge of relations with the winners, said that it is common for lottery winners to donate a portion of their fortune to various charitable and social causes.
The rest of Guy’s winnings were used to purchase a holiday residence, buy a new car for his daughter, help relatives who needed financial support, and travel around the country.
Aside from environmental protection, Guy also announced plans to donate a part of his fortune to hospitals.
Being an overnight millionaire didn’t change Guy, who said that he planned to “continue to live peacefully, in the most total discretion.” He doesn’t want recognition and still enjoys the simple things in life, including spending time with his family and walking through the forest.
“My dream has never been to acquire boats, castles or other sports cars, it is to be useful and to give meaning to this money, with maximum positive impact,” he said.
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