Powerball winner Gloria C. MacKenzie, 84, left, leaves the lottery office escorted by her son, Scott MacKenzie, after claiming a single lump-sum payment of about $370 million before taxes in June.(Photo: Steve Cannon, AP)
The winner of a record-breaking Powerball jackpot is swooping in to help fix a school in the small Maine town where she lived for years.
Gloria MacKenzie,whose $590.5 million prize in Junewas the largest single-winner Powerball jackpot ever, has promised to donate about $2 million to Schenck High School in East Millinocket, Maine, where her children attended school and her daughter has taught for 39 years.
Superintendent Quenten Clark confirmed the donation Wednesday, saying it will solve years-old problems by funding repairs to a leaky roof as well as problems in the gymnasium.
"I don't see any way where we could continue on indefinitely without doing the roof repairs," Clark said.
The MacKenzie family contacted the school about the donation, and the family and school are currently working out the legal complications that accompany a private donation to a public school, Clark said.
He said he's hopeful the donation can be approved by the time school starts this fall and that work will begin next summer when weather in Maine is good enough for construction.
"They could've taken their money and gone anywhere," Clark said. "They wanted to invest back into the community they've been part of for generations."
Schenck High School houses about 300 students, including kindergarten through fourth-grade students who attend an elementary school in the same building. Clark said East Millinocket is a "small, isolated, tight-knit" community that people don't often want to leave.
This is not the first time MacKenzie, who now lives in Jacksonville, Fla., has been spotlighted for her generosity since raking in $278.2 million after taxes in June.
The Tampa Bay Times reported in June that MacKenzie - or a woman who looks like her - paid the bill for almost 200 diners at Buddy Freddys in Plant City, Fla.
The woman who paid the tab said she wasn't the lottery winner, although restaurant employees said she looked like MacKenzie.
MacKenzie could not be reached for comment and has not spoken out publicly about the donation to Schenck High School.
"It's a wonderful thing they're doing," Clark said. "We've been trying to figure out for two years what to do about this. Who knew it would take someone in the community winning the lottery?"