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© 2021 Quadra Productions, Inc., photographer Carol Kaelson. All rights reserved.

If you caught the March 18 episode of “Wheel of Fortune“, you watched as long-time board member Scott Kolbrenner brought home an incredible $145,000, which he is generously donating to Uplift Family Services and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

After getting warmed up the first few rounds, Scott landed on the $3,500 wedge–the top dollar value for that round–and he never slowed down from there. Host Pat Sajak even said, “here comes the Doppler effect!” as Scott’s next spin landed him on the Express wedge. This particular wedge allows contestants to call a string of consonants without having to spin the wheel, the risk being that a missed letter results in going Bankrupt. While contestants can opt out of hopping aboard the Express, Scott was up for the challenge, and it paid off. The category was “What Are You Doing?” and the answer seemed to be “winning” as he solved the puzzle, moving him into the lead with $21,200.

His hot streak continued as he won a tossup puzzle with only six letters showing, then solved the subsequent two puzzles, securing the game and $45,000.

However, his truly big moment was still to come: after smartly choosing “What Are You Wearing?” as his grand prize puzzle clue (over “Thing” and “Living Things”) and guessing P, H, G, and O in addition to the standard R, L, S, T, N, and E given each night, all but six letters were revealed. As soon as the 10 seconds to solve the puzzle began, Scott correctly guessed: “Flowing white gown”. Then, Pat revealed the bonus card Scott had selected earlier had $100,000 on it, bringing his total winnings to $145,000!

Scott’s win also makes him the fifth biggest winner in the show’s 46-year history.

“While I hoped I would do OK on the show, I never thought that anything like this could happen,” Scott said to Yahoo News, reacting to his win. “I got lucky that day and knew right away that I wanted to share my good fortune. So, I decided to contribute all of my winnings to Uplift Family Services and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, whose services support thousands of families. The fun and memories from the day will stay with me forever, but the urgent need in our community cannot wait.”

When asked, Scott states his “good fortune” came long before he ever spun the Wheel, having grown up in an intact, secure family where he never had to worry about his next meal or for his safety. His grandfather in particular encouraged Scott to think of charity and civic duty as a critical part of life.

Scott's Wheel of Fortune win
© 2021 Quadra Productions, Inc., photographer Carol Kaelson. All rights reserved.

After learning about Uplift Family Services through a former board member who spoke highly of our mission and the people behind it, Scott joined our Board of Directors, where he has served for more than 20 years.

“I was initially attracted to Hollygrove and then continued to dedicate my time to Uplift Family Services because this agency is dedicated to improving the lives of people who have some obstacles in front of them through no fault of their own–whether socioeconomic, language, psychological, or other issues. Uplift’s mission to do what it takes to help their clients succeed inspires me every day,” says Scott.

Scott and his wife, Caryn, are proud parents of two great kids, Abby and Owen, and three dogs, Meatball, Humphrey, and Moe.

Thank you, Scott, for being a true champion for the lives of the most vulnerable Angelinos. We are so grateful for your commitment to our mission and the families in our Hollygrove programs!

Donate Now

If you’re feeling inspired, show your appreciation for Scott’s win by supporting our work with children and families. We’ve continued to provide life-changing services throughout the pandemic, which are needed now more than ever. Donate $1.45, $14.50, $145, or $1,450 today! If you include a congratulatory note for Scott in the comments section, we’ll be sure to share your message with him.

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