JUNEAU - The inaugural Permanent Fund Dividend raffle for education paid out more than $32,000 on Tuesday at Harborview Elementary School in Juneau. While 8,698 Alaskans applying for their PFD donated to the raffle, only four names were drawn out of a spinning bucket of names and able to cash in on their donation to Alaskan education. Just one-quarter of the $869,800 raised by the raffle went to prizes, with $184,832.50 remaining in the raffle fund to grow for next year and $32,617 being paid out to the four winners.
“The winnings will be even larger next year so we’re excited to keep this going year after year,” said PFD Division Director Anne Weske.
Weske followed Governor Mike Dunleavy’s introduction and Senator Click Bishop, whom Dunleavy referred to as the ‘father’ of the PFD raffle for education.
Weske detailed how the raffle worked, with nearly 9,000 Alaskans each donating $100 for their chance at winning. The first prize winner was James Johnson, who will receive $17,396 equivalent to eight percent of the one-quarter of earnings secured for giving away to Alaskans.
Joshua Foster won the 4 percent second prize, taking home $8,698, and Dantasia James earned the third place 2 percent prize of $4,349. Laura Hayes was the fourth name drawn, taking home $2,174.50.
Half of the raffle earnings were distributed to school districts for supplemental grants while one quarter was put into an endowment fund for public education in Alaska. Of the remaining quarter of the earnings, $32,617 was given out to Alaskans and the other $184,832.50 remains to allow the fund to collect interest and grow.
“This is a method by which folks can voluntarily help out with education and, as we said, have fun at the same time,” said Dunleavy. “This is a success. I think we’re going to see more and more of these raffles for education continue year after year and hopefully it grows and grows and we get more money for education, but also Alaskans participate in supporting one of our key services here in the state of Alaska.”
Dunleavy began speaking at Harborview Elementary in Juneau and introduced Senator Bishop, whose idea it was to hold a raffle of PFD monies to help support public education. Dunleavy’s Commissioner of Education Michael Johnson drew the four names and Senator Mia Costello was also present for the PFD raffle, noting that the rotating cylinder of names was heavier than it appeared. Combining the 75 percent of earnings distributed to public education to school districts and the endowment fund this year, over $650,000 was raised for K12 education in the first year of the raffle.
“This is for the children. This is for the kids,” said Bishop. “This is for Alaska’s future.”