$1 million can be blessing – or curse

Most folks don’t have $1 million just sitting around. But when some are hardworking, savvy or lucky enough to acquire such a sum, it can do a lot of good – or get you killed.

Ed Jenkins/submitted photo

Ed Jenkins/submitted photo

Tucsonan Ed Jenkins used $1 million to do some good. A volunteer at Interfaith Community Services since 2003, he and his wife, Kay, gifted the Tucson organization with the generous sum.

“From the day I began as a volunteer at ICS,” Ed said in the ICS news release, “I have been very impressed with two things: the way ICS uses its many volunteers to leverage what it does so well, and the very practical way that it serves those in need.” Jenkins is also a board member.

Last year ICS helped more than 36,000 Pima County residents, providing nearly 50,000 services. These include a food bank, Mobile Meals, rides to doctor appointments and errands, home repairs and sometimes just a call or visit to check up on someone or say hello.

We like ICS. It even has a little heart in its masthead. More than 600 folks who volunteer also seem to like the organization, which has been helping seniors, disabled folks and families in financial crisis for the past 25 years.

The Jenkins’ donation starts with $250,000 to set up the ICS Endowment and will continue by matching up to $750,000 in donations that come in from other sources. Donate, learn more or volunteer by visiting ICStucson.org.

Way to go, Ed and Kay, and congrats to ICS.

This story is so compelling, Ed is going to be profiled in next week’s column on What It’s Like to be a Tucson Millionaire. Stay tuned on Rynski’s Blogski.

The $1 million in the ICS case is definitely a blessing. A Florida truck driver found it to be a curse.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Abraham Shakespeare, 43, won a windfall of $31 million in the Florida lottery in 2006.

He pooh-poohed annual installments and instead took the lump-sum payment of $16.9 million.

Shakespeare then bought a $1 million home in one of those fru-fru gated communities, a new car, a pawn shop Rolex, the New York Daily News reports. He was also quickly surrounded by parasites.

“They didn’t wait,” his mom Elizabeth Walker said in the News story. “They just came right after they found out he won this money.”

Shakespeare, who had a criminal record for not paying child support, battery and burglary, started dealing out the dollars. He paid for friends’ business ventures, funerals and even gave $1 million to a guy called “Big Man.”

Then came Dee Dee Moore, a woman with her own criminal past that included a false claim of being carjacked and raped. She told Shakespeare she wanted to write a book about him and became his financial adviser of sorts.

Shakespeare was last seen in April and reported missing in November. No one is yet being charged with murder, but things aren’t looking so positive. He never called his mom on Christmas.



What do you think?

Have you seen lives either highly enhanced or ruined by money?

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Would you donate to a Tucson organization that helps others? Which one?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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11 Responses to $1 million can be blessing – or curse

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Media Maven Rynski! Curse me with a million bucks…please! 😉 You hear about folks all the time who for one or many reasons cannot cope with their instant wealth. Sounds pretty rough, but I’ll give it a go… 😉 I think it would be nice to be able to afford to give generously to worthy charities, key word worthy.

    • Rynski says:

      hahah! hiya radmax!
      yeah, i wouldn’t mind testing the million dollar theory, either. i’d buy sawyer a swimming pool then move to france. actually, it would make more sense to move to france and THEN get sawyer’s swimming pool installed.
      also agree it’s AWESOME when folks can be generous to worthy charities, like ICS. very very cool. i think the kind of mindset ed and his wife have – about sharing and giving to others – is the same mindset that insures money will always be a blessing.
      child support duckers, on the other hand, don’t have the same kind of vibes.
      oh, that karma!

  2. azmouse says:

    I consider myself pretty generous with my time and money now…and I’m poor! LOL
    I’m sure I’d be the same if I was a millionaire, but I could do it on a bigger scale.

  3. leftfield says:

    At one point in our lives Mrs. Leftfield and I owned a successful business.  Not that we got to keep much of it, but a lot of money passed through the place.  It seems that certain folks can smell money from a distance and they all come running with offers too good to be refused.  Of course, it also meant that we had to be constantly in touch with the government, lawyers, accountants, salespeople, etc, etc.  You end up hiring and paying one group of people in the effort to keep another group of people from taking your money.  In the end, both groups are fighting for the right to pick your bones.  You’re right in the middle, getting hit with enemy fire and friendly fire while paying for the privilege.  

    It can only be harder for someone who didn’t approach the situation gradually with an opportunity to learn along the way.  Especially if the money came as a windfall; through no real effort on your part.  

    For me, I say, “Never again”.  I’ll stay small and unnoticed by the parasites (whether they wear a suit or not) and await the day when such matters are no longer the essence of human relationships.   

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for the input, lefty.
      it sounds like it can be quite a struggle with all those vultures at every angle. esp, as you mentioned, for someone who is all of a sudden hit with lots of cash.
      money can’t buy happiness, friendships or  serenity, either. good for you on ‘never again!’ – but i still wouldn’t mind trying it just once…hahahah.

      • leftfield says:

        I will admit that being relieved of constant worry about which bill to pay this month and which bill to put off this month is a benefit.  Like all things, though, it has a cost of its own.  For me, the price of a higher income was just not worth what it was doing to my body, mind and soul.  It really did come down to looking at things and asking myself, “Am I happier or am I even happy at all”?  Then I realized that when I die, I won’t be laying there recounting my income from 2005 vs 2006.  No, I’ll be thinking about my human relationships, the people I’m leaving behind, the experiences I had and whether I led a decent life.

      • Rynski says:

        what a big question that is – “am i even happy?”
        whenever i find myself asking myself that question, i am usually not and something needs to change.
        how wonderful you decided other things are more important – and had the wherewithal and courage to change your life to pursue those things.
        thanks for insight!

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