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PHOENIX (Arizona Lottery Gives Back) – Every time you buy an Arizona Lottery ticket, you invest in our state and bet on our future. When you play the Lottery, essential programs get much-needed money to carry on their crucial work for the people of Arizona.

“When you’re playing the Lottery, you’re not just doing a fun activity that gives you the chance of winning – winning big, even -- you also are giving back to the state and directly investing in programs and services that we all count on,” said Alec Thompson, who took over as the executive director of the Arizona Lottery in April.

The Arizona Lottery provides millions of dollars from ticket sales to Arizona communities every year. The total for fiscal year 2023 (July 2022-June 023) was more than $300 million. The total since the Arizona Lottery started in 1981 is now more than $5.3 billion. Yes, that’s a ”B.”

“The resources provided by the Lottery make our state stronger and healthier, supporting programs and services, including construction and maintenance of Arizona’s public universities, protecting vulnerable communities, preserving iconic Arizona wildlife, and more,” Thompson said in a news release earlier this year.

State law requires the Arizona Lottery to fund 17 vital programs in four key areas – higher education, health and human services, economic and business development, and environmental conservation.

The best part is that every dollar stays right here in Arizona.

In addition to the 17 beneficiaries designated by law, Arizona Lottery Gives Back, the charitable arm of the Arizona Lottery, helps fund nonprofit organizations and specialty programs like Recycle Your Bicycle, and they do it all year long. Arizona Lottery Gives Back helps bridge the gap between tax dollars and the amount of money required for nonprofits to do what they do.

“We’re very focused on identifying causes that need our support,” Thompson said. “I love the Lottery because I see firsthand the impact that the contributions of our players make to Arizona communities.”

This is the third year Arizona Lottery Gives Back has teamed up with the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents and Arizona’s Family to host Recycle Your Bicycle. AZAFAP has been running the Recycle Your Bicycle program for years, but after the first time Arizona Lottery Gives Back got involved, doing it again was a no-brainer.

“Over the past [two] years, we really saw the value that this program adds to these families,” Thompson said.

And AZAFAP could not be happier to have the Arizona Lottery Gives Back team on board again.

“The Gives Back program has amazingly contributed a great amount to help us purchase parts and supplies needed for refurbishing the bicycles,” Williams said ahead of last year’s blockbuster donation day. (You donated more than 3,000 bikes!) “We’re just so grateful to that program and the people who work there that care about our kids.”

Recycle Your Bicycle is near and dear to the hearts of everyone involved in AZAFAP. The program takes your donated bicycles, refurbishes them to like-new condition, and gives them to Arizona children experiencing foster care.

“Bikes mean a lot to all kids, but for teens, that may mean they’re getting a job, and they are able to use their bike for transportation to a job or school,” explained Nancy Williams, AZAFAP’s executive director. “But it’s not just freedom that comes with having a bike. “Bikes provide that social interaction with other kids in the neighborhood. It also helps provide normalcy for children who maybe have been moved from home to home.”

AZAFAP depends on volunteers and organizations like Arizona Lottery Gives Back, which means they both rely on you. When you play the Lottery, Arizona wins.