'Jeopardy!' champ James Holzhauer has won $1.69 million—and he's already giving some of it away

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, left, stands for a photograph with "Jeopardy!" sensation James Holzhauer after presenting him with a key to the Las Vegas Strip in front of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas, Thursday, May 2, 2019.
Carolyn Brehman | AP

"Jeopardy!" champ James Holzhauer has won close to $1.7 million so far during his history-making run on the popular game show. And though his time in the spotlight isn't over yet — he will return May 20, after the show's teacher tournament — he's already given some of his winnings back to the community in Las Vegas, his hometown.

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and the Ronald McDonald House in Las Vegas told CNBC Make It that Holzhauer and his wife have donated significant funds to each institution.

"I am happy to confirm that James and Melissa Holzhauer made a $10,000 check to the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Foundation on April 11 to support early learning and homework help services at the Library District," said Danielle Milam, development and planning director at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and Foundation.


He also gave the library a list of his favorite children's books, which he has said in past interviews are key to his success at trivia.

"I've found that in an adult reference book, if it's not a subject I'm interested in, I just can't get into it," he told the New York Times. "I was thinking, 'What is the place in the library I can go to to get books tailored to make things interesting for uninterested readers?' Boom. The children's section."

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum noted that half of the Holzhauers' $10,000 is designated for the Live Animal department, and the other half will go to the museum's Open Door program, which provides free admission to students from low-income areas.

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"Prior to this donation, the Holzhauer family have been members and frequent visitors of the museum," Jennifer Fox, the museum's communications and development manager, told CNBC Make It.

The Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House said the Holzhauer's donation "is being put to good use supporting the parents and siblings of critically ill and injured children who are being treated in local hospitals," and that the amount is "similar" to what was given to the other two organizations.

"We are so very grateful to the Holzhauers for their support of families in medical crisis," said Alyson McCarthy, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas.

Previously, the game show champ said he would spend some of his winnings on travel, and told CNBC Make It that he planned to indulge his family a bit.

"I'd like to finally send my old man and his missus to the U.S. Open this summer," he said. "Their ticket requests get closer to center court with every episode I win."

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