ROSWELL, Ga. — The Georgia Lottery is more than a chance to earn a prize, it’s about helping Georgia students succeed, said Georgia Lottery Corporation President and CEO Gretchen Corbin.
“The way we see it, it’s an investment in our students,” she said. “Every dollar you spend is an investment. And if you happen to win, it’s just icing on the cake.”
Corbin spoke at the May 30 Roswell Rotary Club meeting at Roswell Area Park about the organization’s goals and how its most recent funds have gone back into the community.
Prior to her role at the Georgia Lottery Corporation, Corbin served as the commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. During her tenure, she helped create new options for GED completion, the Georgia BioScience Training Center and a mobile app to facilitate college registration. Corbin also partnered in developing the HOPE Career Grant to provide free tuition to students in 17 high-demand areas. She was named president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Corporation at the start of 2018.
“The whole reason we exist is to send the most amount of dollars to the state of Georgia to provide for HOPE and pre-K,” Corbin said.
Since its inception 25 years ago, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has raised more than $20.8 billion for education, Corbin said.
The Georgia Lottery now brings in the second highest total per capital sales of any lottery organization in the nation, she added.
In Fulton County, specifically, the lottery has helped close to 132,000 students with $864 million in HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships, Corbin said, and the organization has helped 136,000 pre-K students, which amounts to $476 million in funds, she added.
The Georgia Lottery Corporation has been growing over the past few years.
The 2019 fiscal year to-date profit is already 5.6 percent higher than the combined 2018 profits, Corbin said.
This revenue increase is in part because of the new mobile lottery app. The organization was a bit worried when the app was first introduced that it would take sales from brick-and-mortar stores, but as the digital platform sales increased, so did the retail sales, Corbin said.
“We know that it’s good for business, but more importantly, we know that our students are best for business,” she said. “It’s about getting the great start that they do in pre-K and then continuing on through the wonderful K-12 education here in Georgia and then going on into our incredible universities and technical colleges.”
According to Corbin, 26.2 percent of every dollar in the Georgia Lottery goes to education. About two thirds, 63.6 percent, goes to prizes, the organization’s main product, she said.
Corbin added that the best part of her work is seeing how the lottery affects people. Charitable giving is consistently in the top three ways people say they will use their winnings, Corbin said.
“And some of my most exciting days are when I go to a rural community, and I ask the question, ‘How many of you are HOPE scholars?’” she said. “We get a lot of hands raised, and you know that this project has worked. It has kept the best and brightest in Georgia. They have come back, and they are leaders in their communities.”