At almost any New York City bodega, you can quick-draw, scratch, or mega-million your way towards million dollar jackpots. Thousands of New Yorkers play the lottery every day. But how does the lottery really work? Who is playing, and where does all the money go? Who wins and who loses?

A group of New York City high school students worked with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP), and CUP teaching artist Lindsay Catherine Harris to scratch beneath the surface. The group interviewed the head of the New York Lottery, a math teacher, lottery retailers, an economist, and lottery players.

The team created a video, “Lotto Zone,” to uncover the surprising story of the connection between Powerball, policy, and public school funding. “Lotto Zone” had its debut at Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan. Since the debut, the video has been awarded the prestigious Core 77 design award as part of our Urban Investigations program. 

Check out the video below!

Resources & Links

The Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP) develops and implements innovative individual models that build resilience – the ability to bounce back from adversity – in low-income children and youth.

Funding Support

Major support for this program was provided by public funds from the Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Special thanks

The Actor’s Workshop, Les Bernal (Stop Predatory Gambling), Don Boyd, Jill Noelle Cannon, Mei Ling Chua, Ravi Gonuguntla (EZ Convenience Mart), Carolyn Hapeman, Nadia Khalaf, Brent Kramer (Fiscal Policy Institute), Julie McDonald (Math for America), Francesca Perry, Maniza Pritila Laurie Rubel, Amy Ford-Wanger, Robert Williams (New York Gaming Association), and Stephanie S. Yee


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Lindsay C. Harris
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Project Support
  • Jeff Kasper
  • Sam Holleran
  • Christine Gaspar
  • Resilience Advocacy Project
  • Project Coordinators
  • Brooke Richie-Babbage
  • Adina Calafateanu
  • Elisa Kaplan
  • Students
  • Shakira Ali
  • Oscar Fermin
  • Berhtier Francois
  • Richard Heard
  • Adams Peguero
  • Zoya Seaforth
  • Mehnaz Sultana
  • Horace Trim
  • Music
  • Nick Cregor