Scott Kolbrenner capped a successful stint on game show Wheel of Fortune by guessing the missing-letters phrase _LO_ _NG _H_TE GO_N, suggested by the clue “What Are You Wearing?,” was “flowing white gown.” But Kolbrenner will not personally pocket any of the $145,000 his one-day appearance netted. Instead, he will split the money evenly between two favored nonprofits.
Kolbrenner has been a board member at Uplift Family Services, which offers behavior health treatment for children and family members who have experienced trauma such as severe neglect and abuse, for more than 20 years, according to a blog post on the Uplift site. The Campbell, Calif.-based organization will receive half his winnings.
“We are so honored and grateful that Scott chose to play for us while advocating for our agency’s Los Angeles-based Hollygrove programs!” Uplift’s social media team posted on the organization’s Facebook page. The Hollygrove campus provides assistance to children and families in the Metro and South Los Angeles communities, which has a sizable Latino population that includes recent immigrants from Central America.
The other half will go to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which sources, acquires and distributes food both through charitable agencies and its own programs, and advocates on behalf of hunger relief.
According to a post on the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s website, food insecurity was serious even before conditions were exacerbated by the current coronavirus pandemic. “Long-time LA Regional Food Bank supporter Scott Kolbrenner watched these developments and understands that it takes the entire community to fight food insecurity,” the post continued. “He promised his wife, Caryn, before the show: if we win anything, we are going to support those charities that are helping to make a difference in our communities.”
Kolbrenner hoped he would do reasonably well on the show, but could not have foreseen he would hold fifth place among the highest one-day winners. The list is topped by Autumn Erhard, who took home just over $1 million in 2013.
When not winning six-figure game show prizes, Kolbrenner serves as managing director at Houlihan Lokey, a Los Angeles-based investment bank.