DES MOINES — The CEO of the Iowa Lottery says the amount of money that will go to the state from the sale of lottery products topped the $2 billion mark in October.

Matt Strawn says the proceeds sent to the state in the last 34 years have been used for a lot of things — but they are highlighting one fund in particular.

“As we approach Veterans Day, we thought this provided an excellent opportunity to highlight and raise awareness for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund.   Many Iowans may not know that Iowa has a Veterans Trust Fund,” Strawn says.

The Iowa Lottery first started sending proceeds to the Veterans Trust Fund through the proceeds of a specific scratch ticket. It now provides a set amount every year. “The first two-and-a-half million dollars every year that is raised by the Iowa Lottery is contributed to this Iowa Veterans Trust Fund,” Strawn says.  “So, we wanted to take this occasion of this two billion-dollar milestone to kind of highlight, raise awareness and share a message with Iowans that there is and Iowa Veterans Trust Fund, and we are encouraging them to share the news.”

He encourages friends and family members of veterans to be sure they know about the fund.  “The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund is administered by the Iowa Veterans Commission, which is under the Iowa Veterans Department here in the state of Iowa. And there is actually an application process.  So, any Iowa veteran and their family can go on line and take a look at what that application is,” Strawn explains.

Strawn says there is help available in making the application. He says the Veterans Department recommends that after you look at the application you go to your local county Veteran Service Office. Every one of the state’s 99 counties has an office.   “And they will actually walk through the application with a veteran. Often times they will identify that there is a federal program or an existing state program that they are eligible for,” Strawn says. “Because the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund was really set up as that fund of last resort.”

He says the funding is available for various needs, and encourages all veterans to see if is something they may be able to use. “Things like housings costs, or maybe it’s a car repair so they can get to work….kind of those daily life expenses that maybe slipped through the cracks and aren’t covered by other support systems,” Strawn says.

The Iowa Lottery  worked with the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs to produce a video highlighting the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund and the assistance it offers to veterans and their families. You can see the video on the Iowa Lottery’s website.