PHOENIX — With only a few exceptions, specialty license plates offered by the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division do more than just allow drivers to show support for causes and express their individuality. They raise money – and a lot of it – for charities and nonprofit groups.
In 2015, the 389,536 specialty plates on Arizona vehicles raised more than $6.5 million.
“We’re pleased to be a facilitator for people to give to their favorite charity,” Motor Vehicle Division Director Eric Jorgensen said. “The specialty license plate program is a great way to personalize your vehicle and support great causes.”
Drivers pay $25 a year for specialty plates. Of that amount, $17 goes to a designated charity or nonprofit group.
The top specialty plate for 2015 features the Arizona Cardinals, raising $1,087,677 for Cardinals Charities and its many beneficiaries. Next were two plates benefiting the Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund that supports veterans and their families: Veterans, raising $1,051,093, and Freedom/Military Support, raising $521,424.
“Seeing so many vehicles on the road displaying their Cardinals plates is fantastic, and the display of support is incredibly gratifying,” Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said. “But even more meaningful is knowing the type of impact that the project is having on Cardinals Charities and, in turn, so many worthy causes throughout the state.”
There are 60 specialty license plates available in Arizona. Among the few plates that aren’t connected to a charity or nonprofit group are those for historic and classic vehicles, as well as plates that support a public service like amateur radio operators.
Specialty license plates are created by state law. In 2015, laws led to specialty plates featuring the Arizona Coyotes, U.S. Marine Corps, Midwestern University and Firefighter Safety Training.
Once a plate becomes law, the nonprofit organization benefiting from it must pay $32,000 to cover MVD’s programming and production costs and work with MVD to design the plate. Upon approval by the organization, ADOT and law enforcement, the plate goes into production for vehicle owners to purchase.