Trucking company founder donates Powerball winnings to college

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A trucking company founder who recently picked the first five numbers in a Powerball game donated his winnings to a South Carolina college.

Charlie Johnson, 61, who founded Active Transportation in 1987 and sold his interest in the multimillion-dollar trucking firm in 2000, picked the first five numbers drawn in the Dec. 17 game, but not the Powerball. The prize was $200,000.

Johnson, now a wealthy businessman who lives in Louisville, Ky., also is chairman of the board at Benedict College, a predominantly black liberal-arts school in Columbia. On Wednesday, Jan. 11, he and David Swinton, Benedict’s president, showed up at Kentucky Lottery headquarters in Louisville to claim the prize, plus $3 from another ticket. Johnson had the lottery make the $200,003 check out to the college.

Swinton says Benedict College will use the money to help pay for a $10 million football stadium that will be named for Johnson, who has been on the board for 10 years, the past six as chairman. Johnson says he had given a total of $1 million in the past three years to fund the stadium, which is nearing completion.

Johnson’s ticket had 38 as the Powerball, only one digit off from the number chosen — 18. He says he if he had won the full jackpot, worth $15 million that day, he probably would have set up a charitable foundation to distribute the money to local charities that he helps.