top of page

Philanthropy Catalyst Newsletter | Dec. 2015

Welcome from CEO and Principal Julie Murray

eBay Founders Pam & Pierre Omidyar commissioned a study about Las Vegans approximately 10 years ago. It revealed that although Las Vegas has a “can do spirit” unlike any in the country, we operate in silos…and until we overcome the lack of collaboration, it will prevent us from becoming a truly great community. At that time, I was wrapping up my work with the Agassi Foundation’s charter school, Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, and getting ready to help launch the Three Square Food Bank. I was excited about the opportunity to test out a new way of community engagement via collaboration with funders and non-profits.


The Omidyars were right! But great progress has been made this past decade with collective impact funding, and with the cooperative work of non-profits and governmental entities. The result has been a healthier, more vibrant and connected community. As a life-long Las Vegan, I have never been more optimistic about our future! Businesses have rebounded since the Recession, and individual donations have increased more in Nevada than any other state since 2006.


2015 has been an extraordinary year, and 2016 will only build on this year’s successes! Mark your calendars now for our 5th annual Philanthropy Leaders Summit on Friday, February 5, 2016, and stay tuned for the the launch of our new “Philanthropist of the Month” spotlight, the release of the 3rd annual Nevada Corporate Giving Report…and so much more.  Thank you for all that you do to strengthen our community and to make Las Vegas great.


Happy Holidays!


Las Vegas says “Gracias” to Carlos Santana

When you hear the name Carlos Santana, a few things that come to mind might be 10 time GRAMMY award winner, best guitarist of all time, or one of his song titles “Smooth” or “Maria Maria.” What may not come to mind is his charity and the millions of dollars it gives to nonprofit organizations around the world, including several right here in Las Vegas. Santana’s Milagro Foundation is headquartered in San Rafael, California, but the extent of its giving reaches from South Dakota to India.

















Carlos Santana adopted Las Vegas as his “home away from home” in 2009 after starting his first residency at The Joint in the Hard Rock. Six years later, he is still performing hits and selling out shows at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.


The Milagro Foundation’s largest grant recipient is a small and soulful clinic that Carlos started in his humble hometown of Autlan, Mexico in 2006. The clinic, Tiopa Santuario de Luz, is one of a few clinics that serves the population of over 80,000 people living throughout the rural region. Focusing on the health and wellbeing of women and children, many patients travel 2-3 hours to receive medical attention. The Milagro Foundation continues to provide support for the clinic, and this fall, the Las Vegas community jumped in to show its support.


What better way to say thank you to Santana for all that he is done for our community, than by opening our hearts to his hometown. In November, MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle and his wife Wendy welcomed guests into their home for an intimate gathering with Carlos Santana. Hosted by Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling and his wife Claire, guests were greeted with a performance by the nation’s best youth mariachi band from Monaco Middle School. Together, attendees donated over $40,000 to fund a telehealth project between Tiopa Santuario de Luz and its collaborative partner Hospital Infantil de las Californias in Tijuana, Mexico.


It has been an honor to work with Carlos Santana’s team, its partners in San Diego, and a team of brilliant telehealth experts over the past year to bring world-class care to the people of Autlan. For more information about the Milagro Foundation and the project visit



Philanthropist Spotlight: Jeff Civillco – Giving Back is a Win-Win!

Jeff Civillco is an outstanding performer and an equally outstanding philanthropist. He supports our local nonprofits through “Give Back Sundays,” and he has his own nonprofit organization, Win-Win Entertainment, that connects performers with opportunities to donate their talents. Jeff and Win-Win Entertainment perfectly demonstrate that philanthropy is more than money; it is time, energy, dedication, and this case, extremely fun. For what he has already done and what he plans to do, Jeff Civillco is Moonridge Group’s 4th Quarter Philanthropy Spotlight.


We asked Jeff to share with us where his passion to give back came from and how Win-Win Entertainment is uplifting our community one show at a time…


MG: When did you first engage in philanthropy?


JC: The first show I ever did was a for a service project when I was a teenager. The assignment was to volunteer and then write a reflection. I put my juggling skills to the test and performed at an organization that serves individuals with special needs. I had never performed outside of my kitchen before then, but it was great! Fast forward 20 years, and here I am, performing professionally 5 to 6 nights a week at Bugsy’s Cabaret inside the Flamingo.


MG: What inspired you to start Win-Win Entertainment?


JC: After my first show a pattern began to develop. I continued to do similar shows, and I started to teach other kids how to juggle. I had a juggling club! We would go around Philadelphia doing shows, and I kept doing it because I enjoyed it. I carried this with me from Philly to D.C., to Orlando, and now here to Vegas. There always has been, and there always will be, a charity component. Being in the scene and befriending other performers was key, and Vegas is the perfect hub. There are more performers in a 3-mile radius here than anywhere else, and there seems to be a fundraising gala, event, dinner, or show every week!


MG: What are your goals for Win-Win Entertainment?


JC: Our focus is to connect performers with charities, and we do this through several channels. We provide entertainers for banquets or galas to save nonprofit organizations that expense, and we also provide direct services to the community through entertainment. My preference is option two.


We are still young, and at this stage we are working on getting our ducks in a row to create a strong foundation. Win-Win is based off of relationships, and we do not need much capital, just the funding to build the infrastructure to make matches and coordinate schedules. But we do have a vision to expand beyond Vegas into a national organization! In the future we hope to use our signature annual event, the Headliner’s Bash, to bring together different chapters, donors, and performers for a weekend of learning and fun. 


MG: Jeff, you are a real life superman. How do you do it?

JC: I have an awesome team. Our board is a sweat equity board for sure.  We roll up our sleeves, and we get it done, no matter what it takes.  And the best part?  We’re all genuine friends who support each other in work and in life.  Love my Win-Win family :)Everyone at Moonridge Group has seen Jeff’s show “Comedy in Action.” It is truly a delight and also family friendly. Jeff performs all over the state and its neighbors, and he is always looking for new organizations to connect with to spread cheer and share a laugh. If you would like to connect with Jeff around performing for a nonprofit event please reach out to him at Tell him Moonridge Group sent you!


For more information about Jeff, his show, or Win – Win Entertainment please visit or

MG: What has been your most meaningful or favorite philanthropy experience?


JC:  That’s tough…There have been so many great events with Opportunity Village and the Special Olympics, to name a few. I think I would have to say my first time playing Miracle League two years ago. It is a baseball leagues for individuals with special needs. Our Executive Director came across this wonderful organization and brought it to our board’s attention, and I went to check it out to see if it was something Win-Win would like to get involved with. I immediately fell in love…and good thing I was wearing sunglasses because I was tearing up…We have helped other get involved too. Casts from Menopause the Musical, Evil Dead the Musical, and performers from many other shows have come out to play too, which is really great! 


Jeff Civillco
The Giving Season

Philanthropy may be an intimidating word to many, but few people actually know that it stems from several Greek words, which jointly mean "love of humanity.” And that is a simple concept. Giving back not only helps us to do good in the world, but it can be inspiring and uplifting for the giver. Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health (lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression), and that these benefits are even more pronounced for the elderly.


Particularly at this time of year, we focus on not only how thankful we are, but how we can help others. For some people, giving comes naturally. For others, they may want to give back but often don’t know where to begin.


Giving Season

Giving can mean many things, and philanthropy does not mean just writing a big check. Giving back can mean money, volunteering, or in-kinds goods. Most nonprofits are just as happy to receive your time and talents as they are to receive a donation. And often, expertise is harder to find than funding sources. Also, although many associate volunteering with painting houses and cleaning up playgrounds, it can take the form of participating on a Board of Directors or Advisory Board, or something called “skill-based volunteering.” Skills-based volunteering can include anything from helping a nonprofit file their tax return, get their legal contract in order, developing a market campaign or brochure, to updating their website…to really anything that helps them do what they do better. In-kind donations such as office furniture, computer equipment, and other materials are often greatly appreciated – but just check with your nonprofit before dropping off a trunk full of items!


From the perspective of a nonprofit, they often have very limited staff and resources with which to carry on their incredible social missions. They always look for ways to diversify revenue streams – and so anything you can give, in any amount, matters.


So what can you do? First, find a cause or organization you are passionate about. Second, think about what you can do to give back – be it time, money or in-kind resources. Maybe it’s a particular skill you have, or something you do at work that you are particularly good at. Then, connect with the organization and just ask what you can do to help. You’d be surprised at the opportunities that come up when you just ask. And finally, find a way to build an ongoing relationship – join a Board, a committee, and stay in touch with the organization throughout the year.


If you are interested in joining a board, check out our Board Matchmaker which is a free service that will find you a custom board match. Bottom line – give back, get involved, and if you do not know where to start give us a call at 702-570-7693.

Calendar of Events


Nevada Corporate Giving Council

What: A council of executives in philanthropy designed for networking and sharing best practices in corporate giving. Contact Bri Lawrence for more information and meeting details.




Greater Good Council

What: An intimate gathering of individual funders and family foundations. Contact Anna Auerbach for more information and meeting details.




5th Annual Philanthropy Leaders Summit

What: Annual gathering of over 100 philanthropists throughout Nevada with presentations by a youth panel, nationally recognized keynote speaker, and a luncheon to hear the latest updates for each nonprofit sector.

Date: Friday, February 5, 2016

Time: 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Location: Las Vegas City Hall




4th Annual One Night for ONE DROP

What: One-night-only show presented by volunteer artists from Las Vegas’ eight resident shows. Funds raised benefit the ONE DROP Foundation’s global initiatives and also local water education through a partnership with Springs Preserve.

Date: Friday, March 18, 2016

Location: The Smith Center



bottom of page