How MacArthur 'Geniuses' Spend Their Money

MacArthur Fellows have bills to pay too.

— -- intro: Twenty-one people, named today as 2014 MacArthur Fellows, were awarded $625,000 each, dubbed by the media as "genius grants." They accept the money with no strings attached over a five-year period, which means they can spend it however they want. What can the newest inductees learn from past winners?

Many recipients, who have devoted their lives to research and have never had a salary, are sometimes overwhelmed by both the money and recognition. The winners don't apply and aren't even nominated in an official process. The monetary award, which the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has increased over time, is spent by many to support their work or for charitable causes, but not all the time.

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Here are some of the most memorable ways the geniuses have used their funds.

quicklist: title: Tommie Lindsey category: 2004 ($500,000) text: Tommie Lindsey, an educator in California, told ABC News that besides co-authoring a book with the money, “we had to pay our fair share to the IRS.”

Linsey supported his children, too.

"I always covered for [my students at school]. Some kids can't afford things. They need new suits, clothes. I have one kid on my team whose family has been homeless for two years. When these kids are so sincere in what they do, we can't shut them off from this opportunity," Lindsey said.

When asked if he used all of the grant, Lindsey told ABC News that there is still some money in his investments. He’s also getting ready to write another book.

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quicklist: title: Mike Davis category: 1998 ($315,000) text: Mike Davis, a historian and now a creative writing professor at the University of California Riverside, said the most "dramatic" thing that happened since receiving the money "was trying to resolve whether to accept the award or not -- because I really don't believe in the award."

"On the other hand, I grew up in a family where, if the Brinks truck comes and a bag falls off, you don't promptly turn it into the police," he told the Chicago Tribune. "You leave for Mexico the next morning."

How did Davis spend the award?

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