Man Wins $217M Lottery Jackpot, Gives Away Fortune to Planet Earth

A man who won a $217 million lottery jackpot in France has given away much of his win to charity.

After winning the second largest-ever amount on France's EuroMillions, the man, who has remained anonymous but has been given the nickname of "Guy," has donated most of the sum to set up a charitable foundation promoting global environmental protection, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.

His lottery victory dates back to December 2020. The jackpot winner then had 120 days to claim the prize.

Back in 2020, the man, who the French newspaper The Connexion referred to as a retiree living in the south of France, also announced plans to donate part of his winnings to hospitals.

Euromillions lottery
A man fills in a Euro Millions lottery ticket on November 5, 2012 in Tours, central France. A man who won a $217 million lottery jackpot in France has given away much of his win to charity. ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

"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," the lottery winner said, The Connexion reported.

Two years later, the man has given away most of his jackpot to the Anyama foundation, the institution he himself founded to protect the planet. It is named after a city in Ivory Coast, where the lottery winner is assumed to have lived.

"The Anyama endowment fund is the result of an imperious desire to act for nature and human beings that I have had for years," the man wrote in an open letter 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.

"I only played during large jackpots, for one purpose: to devote most of this sum to the creation of a foundation," he added.

The man wrote that most of the money donated will be used to prevent logging, protect and revive forests and to regenerate biodiversity in the region.

"During my life, I have witnessed in Ivory Coast the incessant passage of trucks loaded with trees cut in the forests of Burkina Faso. This ballet of trucks marked me a lot, outraged me," he wrote.

The public company that manages lotteries in France, La Française des Jeux (FDJ), has confirmed his donation to the foundation.

Some of the jackpot has also been spent on making the people closest to him happy. The lottery winner said back in December 2020 that he would use part of the money to buy his daughter a new car and help relatives who needed financial support.

But the victory hasn't drastically changed his lifestyle. In the same open letter in which he announced the creation of the Anyama Foundation, the man said he planned to "continue to live peacefully, in the most total discretion."

"Guy" won the lottery with the numbers 6, 9, 13, 24 and 41. His lucky stars were 3 and 12.

At the time of his victory in 2020, the jackpot was the highest-ever won in France. The previous record for EuroMillions' highest lottery win was $206 million, won most recently in 2019.

In October 2021 one lucky winner pocketed $239 million, which is now the biggest-ever lottery win in France.