CALGARY- The $40 million lottery winner who plans to give the winnings away has been busy making good on his promise.
Calgary’s Tom Crist has already given money to cancer sufferers, and donated $1.2 million to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre where his wife was treated before her death.
“She’d be happy. I know she’s up there looking down on us, she was all about giving,” Crist says, of his wife Janice. “She was kind of the hub of the family.”
However, he says the weight of the requests he’s been inundated with since news of his lotto win broke are taking a toll.
“It’s very tough, I feel bad,” he admits. “I had to quit reading the letters that I got…they were bringing up memories that I went through so it was really tough for me to read them.”
Scam emails have also surfaced, but he says that other than that, his philanthropy has been a rewarding experience.
“You feel good when you can do something, when you can help a family out that needs help, financial help. You can’t help the whole world, but we are going to help as many people as we can.”
Recently, Crist invested millions of dollars into a local company that provides online programming for children. Kidoodle TV was invented by Mike Lowe, after his young son unintentionally started watching an adult movie.
“What was sounding like a kids show ended up being an adult movie that he had ordered. It shocked me because I had purposely tried to remove all of those channels and they had published a bunch without me knowing,” Lowe explains.
The company is like a Netflix for kids, with no adult content or commercials.
“Video today has an active role,” Lowe continues. “We all have grown up with TV and it’s not going to go away. We just wanted to give parents more opportunity to control how their children are watching TV.”
Crist says thanks to his investment, revenues from Kidoodle TV will go back into his charitable foundation.
“In order for that foundation to go on for years and years, there has to be a return,” he says. “I really believe Kidoodle will give us a nice return.”
Crist plans to meet with the Alberta Cancer Board this month to decide where his next big donation should go.
With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo