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French lottery winner uses €200m fortune to fight climate change

The man, identified only as ‘Guy,’ has set up a foundation to help fight global warming and also to support exhausted hospital carers

The man won the then-record-breaking amount in December 2020, and has since set up a foundation to help climate change causes and healthcare staff Pic: NeydtStock / Shutterstock

A French lottery winner who hit a €200million EuroMillions jackpot is in the process of donating the majority of his new fortune to environmental causes in a bid to protect the planet.

Named only as Guy by lottery group Française des Jeux, the winner scooped the prize in December 2020. The amount took the record for the highest EuroMillions win in France at the time (although this record was beaten by another winner a year later, who won €20million more).

The Anyama Foundation

Last summer, Guy confirmed to Le Parisien that he would donate the majority of his winnings to causes that are helping to beat climate change and global warming. 

He is now giving away “most of my winnings and will gradually give away almost all of them.” 

To do this, he set up his own foundation, dubbed Anyama, after the name of a Côte d’Ivoire town in which he lived for a few years as a child. 

He said that his name does not appear in the donations (he wishes to remain out of the spotlight). It will instead be the Anyama foundation that “will support the actions” and the “positive impact that they will create for everyone”.

“Over the course of my life I have borne witness, in Côte d’Ivoire, to the incessant passing of trucks full of trees felled in the forests of Burkina Faso. This lorry procession really affected me,” he told Le Parisien this week: 

“From my point of view, our main priority today is to save the planet, or rather to ensure that humans, the living, can continue to be hosted by our beautiful Earth. 

“We must act, it is an absolute emergency. If nothing is done in this area, all other actions will be in vain. We will no longer exist because the planet will become unlivable.”

The Anyama foundation is set to work first on projects to combat deforestation and industrial logging. He said: “If you cut forests down with heavy machinery, you destroy all the life there, and release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere.”

The winner has also said that he has not ruled out the possibility of buying a forest in a bid to protect it.

He also said that he wants to help hospitals, which have been badly affected by the impact of the Covid pandemic.

He said: "One of my family members wanted us to act in the healthcare field, especially to support family carers. We will do this in addition to the environmental [causes], as this is also a subject close to my heart.

‘I feel very fulfilled’ 

Guy also said that he does not see his donation as admirable, but simply something which “makes [him] happy.” 

"I hope that my actions will be useful and will last for a long time. My foundation is at work, I am alive and well...I feel very fulfilled,” he said.

Guy used the money which he kept for himself to make “life more comfortable,” carrying out work on his own house and buying a second home. 

“I have not known of a big winner who has made such a significant donation,” Nolwenn Poupon, director of research at philanthropic organisation union France Générosités told Le Parisien. “It is a very positive sign, especially in this tense period of elections [and] crises.

“Environmental themes are becoming more prevalent among donations, because they are becoming more prevalent concerns in the minds of French people.” 

It comes soon after the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the effects that global warming could have on France (as part of Europe).

It said that the report was a “dire warning”, and that heatwaves, forest fires, drought and lack of water could become major threats should nothing more be done to prevent climate change. 

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