The B.S.:

Dialogue about philanthropy is important for the community

Bruce Spotleson

Bruce Spotleson

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

A view looking upward at the events center at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Monday, February 6, 2012. Launch slideshow »

VEGAS INC Coverage

Regular readers know that in addition to reporting bread-and-butter business news, we also cover subjects related to philanthropy. The reason is pretty basic: charities often draw both financial support and board members from the business community, and the two worlds are at times virtually interwoven.

That bond between private enterprise and the world of nonprofits and charities was apparent in the Philanthropy Leaders Forum put on Feb. 29 by the Moonridge Group, a new venture by former Three Square CEO Julie Murray and her core team of Miles Dickson and Kathleen Foley. Both the philanthropic and business worlds were well represented among the 160 people who by and large were either speaking compellingly at the podium or listening attentively in the audience.

The forum actually was the second phase of a two-day experience. It began the previous evening with a more intimate gathering at the home of Diana Bennett, who joined Kris Engelstad-McGarry, another gaming-industry scion, in sharing the positive experiences associated with their charitable giving -- which in each case has been substantial. Food was appropriately provided by master chef Gustav Mahler, another person who does a lot of good in our community.

The goal of the morning-long forum, as described by Murray when it convened at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, was to spur “meaningful dialogue and conversation” on the topic of philanthropy.

Given that goal, the day’s first speaker was a wise choice indeed: the Center’s founder and visionary Larry Ruvo, longtime managing director of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, who shared some personal memories of more challenging times, which clearly instilled many of the values he has today.

“Even when you don’t have anything, you still have to help others in some way,” he said.

Other speakers at the event, which kept a lively pace, were Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell; El Cortez Hotel exec Alexandra Epstein;’s Zach Ware; Heather duBoef, a founder of Nevada Women’s Philanthropy; and dynamic motivator, facilitator and community champion Punam Mathur of NV Energy.

The Moonridge Group plans other such forums in the future, and that’s a very good thing for this community. A dialogue has begun.


The law firm of Snell & Wilmer sponsored “Moving Nevada Forward,” a Feb. 23 workshop at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on public-private partnerships – also known as P3s.

Partner Leon Mead served as host for the firm, which now has 50 practicing attorneys in our state and an international presence.

The panel comprised Charlotte Robinson, of the Colorado High Performance Transportation Enterprise, who shared information on some P3 projects across the U.S.; Geoff Segal, of Macquarie Capital, the world’s largest private-sector investor in infrastructure, who touched on key financing issues and the transfer of risk when a public project is handled by private concessionaires; Rob Lang of our own Brookings Mountain West, always a fascinating speaker, who explained why a new stadium makes so much sense here, and why a professional team doesn’t; Scott Rawlins, of NDOT, who shared the long-range vision for local roads and freeways; and Dan Frost, a Snell & Wilmer partner who specializes in P3s.

P3s are a hot topic in our state, and because of its brisk pace, it was one of those few seminars where participants may actually have wanted more. And that’s a rare experience indeed.

Las Vegas Casinos Decorate for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year decorations are displayed Wynn Las Vegas Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012.  The first day of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, begins at midnight on January 23, 2012. Launch slideshow »


The Asian Chamber of Commerce rang in the Year of the Black Water Dragon at its Chinese New Year celebration and annual Achievement Awards Feb. 24 at Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. Current ACC president Terry Wong gave the opening remarks, and Derek Uehara served as master of ceremonies for the event.

As for the awards, Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center was named corporation of the year; Angie Wallin, member of the year; Ana Wood, community service award; Lawrence Wang, business person of the year; and Rep. Joe Heck, elected official of the year; Kim Boyle was given the educator’s award, and special recognition was given to Jacqueline De Joya.

It being election season, a real cross-section of candidates were in attendance, of course.