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Lottery Winnings Enable 'Generous Spirit'

Born Elsie Eloise Emmy on March 26, 1925, Sande Emmy’s life served as an affirmation of resiliency. Life presented Emmy with many challenges, leading her to experience poverty and homelessness.

She completed her GED in 1962 and went on to attend classes at Portland State University from 1962 to 1964 in pursuit of a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Psychology. Sande’s love of learning led her to continual pursuits of stimulating projects throughout her life, including writing children’s books and trying her hand as an artist.

Emmy’s work experience was diverse and reflective of her broad talents and interests. Her professional history included positions in accounting, advertising, lumber marketing, restaurant and food management, and vocational rehabilitation. Emmy also worked for Multnomah County Probation and Parole, as a TriMet Bus Driver, and as a Foster Home Recruitment Specialist.

In 1997, Emmy had a winning ticket in the Oregon State Lottery and the unexpected windfall unleashed her generous spirit, allowing her to provide funding to nonprofits advancing causes she cared about.

One of Emmy’s greatest passions was providing children with opportunities they might not otherwise have. She created the Sande Emmy Fund with OCF to realize her dream to improve the lives of children.

Emmy passed away on December 1, 2006 at the age of 81, but her generous spirit lived on through grant awards. Her wholly-expendable fund awarded a total of more than $1.3 million to 20 nonprofits serving children. A few examples of include awards to Kinship House, to provide mental health treatment for children; Oregon Humane Society, to connect needy children with shelter pets; Children's Healing Art Project, to expand art services to young cancer patients; Asher Community Health Center, to fund construction of a health clinic in Wheeler County; and KIDS Center, for services for victims of child abuse.

Emmy could have spent her lottery winnings very differently but instead, she partnered with OCF to have a profound impact on children in the state of Oregon. Her generous spirit continues to live on through the children who benefited from her philanthropy. 

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