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May 22, 2007

Blagojevich Administration unveils new Veterans Cash Lottery Ticket
Encourages veterans’ organizations to apply for available Veterans Cash grants

MACHESNEY PARK– As the nation prepares to honor veterans this coming Memorial Day Weekend, Tammy Duckworth, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today joined Jodie Winnett, Acting Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery outside Rockford to unveil the new Veterans Cash lottery ticket on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Director Duckworth and the Illinois Lottery also encouraged veterans’ organizations to apply for Veterans Cash grants.
“Our Veterans were willing to put their lives on the line for this country; we should do whatever we can to meet their needs when they return home.  With Memorial Day right around the corner, we think about those who have fought for our freedoms and those who are still fighting.  A good way to honor their sacrifices and support them is to buy the Veterans Cash lottery ticket,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“Our Veterans bravely served this country and it is the least that we can do to serve them in return.  So as Memorial Day nears and you think about those who have fought for our freedoms and those who still are, buy the Veterans Cash lottery ticket.  It is an easy way to help improve the services provided to our brave heroes,” said IDVA Director L. Tammy Duckworth
Veterans Cash grants are made available through the funding generated by the Veterans Cash lottery ticket.  Veterans Cash grants are currently available for organizations that help provide services to Illinois Veterans in one of the following five categories: long-term care; post-traumatic stress disorder treatment or research; health insurance costs; disability benefits; and housing assistance.
Launched by Governor Blagojevich in February 2006, Veterans Cash is the Lottery’s first lottery ticket where 100 percent of proceeds go to support Illinois veterans.  Proceeds from the sale of this ticket are deposited into an interest bearing account in the State Treasury called the Illinois Veterans Assistance Fund.  IDVA awards the money in grants to fund additional services or conduct research relating to Veterans’ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, homelessness, health insurance costs, and disability benefits.
“It is more important than ever to care for our Veterans, and the Illinois Lottery is happy to play a role with the Veterans Cash ticket,” said Jodie Winnett, Acting Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery.
The Veterans Cash ticket has raised more than $3 million for the Illinois Veterans’ Assistance Trust Fund.  Combined with the proceeds from this year’s previous ticket, Two for the Dough, the new Veterans Cash ticket is expected to generate more than $3 million this year for Veteran services throughout the state.
Since the beginning of 2007, IDVA has granted over $1.4 million to veterans organizations from around the state.  Grants have ranged from $2,500 for clothing, food and transportation to local VA hospitals for sick homeless veterans, to $125,000 for the expansion of a homeless shelter.  Director Duckworth is encouraging organizations that provide a wide range of services to our Veterans, to submit a grant application.
“This ticket is such a fantastic way to support our Veterans because 100% of the profits go directly to service organizations and Veteran services that combat PTSD and homelessness, Veteran health insurance costs, long-term care, or disability benefits.  IDVA is still giving out Veterans Cash grants funded by the sale of these lottery tickets.  I encourage all non-profit organizations serving Veterans, to apply for a Veterans Cash grant.  We need to continue to work together to expand services to our Veterans who deserve only the best,” stated Director Duckworth.
Veterans Cash is currently available at all Illinois Lottery retail locations.  Each ticket costs $2 and has a top prize of $20,000.
For more information on Veterans Cash please visit the Illinois Lottery website at www.illinoislottery.com or for more information on Illinois veteran programs and initiatives or to apply for a Veterans Cash grant, visit the IDVA website at www.state.il.us/agency/dva.


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