top of page

Philanthropy Advisors Newsletter | Q2 2017

Giving with Ease

“To be a philanthropist, all you have to do is give!”  This sage advice provided by high school senior and One Drop 2017 Youth Philanthropy Chair, Dina Ciulla captures how easy it is to do something for others and demonstrates that giving is not restricted to those able to donate large sums of money. As Dina and I discussed, the term philanthropist can be viewed as a role reserved only for individuals of extreme wealth, however, philanthropy occurs when individuals give of their time through volunteerism, gifts of goods, services and expertise, as well as funds. The wonderful thing about giving is that anyone can do it and is not limited by age, creed, gender, or any other factor; giving knows no boundaries. As Dina, so wisely stated, it is as simple as following your heart to improve the lives of others. There are many outstanding non-profits both locally and globally that provide direct support to significant causes that truly matter. We invite you to find what it is that you are most passionate about and to recognize that the spirit of 

philanthropy lives within each one of us.  We simply have to follow our hearts and act! Dina is a recent Faith Lutheran High School graduate, and will begin the UNLV Honors College in August 2017. Congratulations, Dina!


We welcome you to share your experiences with us at We know that you will gain much more in return with the feeling of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction the experience of giving will bring.

Warm Regards,
Julie Murray
CEO & Principal

Downtown Cares...and Moonridge Connects

Over 100 volunteers came together on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission to conduct a variety of tasks that included cleaning windows, packaging emergency food kits, organizing the food pantry and thrift store, to the most visible of giving, the painting of a new colorful and uplifting mural located at the entrance of the Rescue Mission. This 7th annual Downtown Cares event is organized by childhood friends, Katie Epstein Fine and Alexandra Esptein Gudai from the El Cortez Hotel and Tiffany Twohig, with support from Madison Harris, from Moonridge Group. Through this partnership, Downtown Cares has brought the community together to help out many deserving charities in Downtown Las Vegas. Moonridge Group considers it a privilege to join fellow sponsors and partners each year to connect individuals from a variety of backgrounds and interests who share a passion to help our local non-profit organizations.  Thanks to all the sponsors 

and partners, Downtown Cares was able to donate 8,000 water bottles to the men, women, and children in need at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. It was an “all hands-on deck” morning where people of all ages worked together to accomplish in four hours what it would take Las Vegas Rescue Mission staff weeks to complete. Throughout the scrubbing, packing, lifting, organizing, and painting, a palpable buzz was felt among all volunteers – the feeling of what can be accomplished when humans roll up their sleeves in a united effort.  The uplifting new mural designed by Victoria Hart from Pink Kitty Creative will forever brighten the neighborhood and help to provide some comfort to the hundreds who visit the mission each day. Thank you to all those who volunteered and to the amazing staff of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission who are truly the silent heroes of our community.

Moonridge in Mexico

What do famed musician Carlos Santana, The Moonridge Foundation and Jalisco, Mexico have in common? A collective desire to give back and support others on a global scale.  The birthplace of Carlos Santana, Autlán de Navarro in Jalisco, Mexico is home to a small, soulful medical clinic nestled in the mountains just west of Guadalajara, founded by Carlos Santana. The clinic provides medical services to over 20,000 people in Autlán and surrounding communities through a generous annual gift from the Milagro Foundation, Carlos Santana’s charitable organization, plus funds

donated by Las Vegans. The Moonridge Foundation team will join representatives from the UNLV Dental School, the Nevada State College Nursing School, and Cirque Senior VP, Jerry Nadal, to provide basic medical and dental services to the citizens of Autlán and neighboring communities.  Volunteers will also help out with painting, planting, repair work, cleaning, and conducting hands-on support to those in need.  The Moonridge team is honored to organize this annual event and to demonstrate the power of collective impact in action that extends far beyond our borders.

5th Annual One Night for One Drop Soaring to New Heights

One Drop, an international non-profit organization created in 2007 by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, was developed to provide access to safe water in developing countries; as well as collaborate with local water non-profits in Las Vegas.  The One Night for One Drop event is an annual philanthropic evening where Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their talent and time to create a unique and breathtaking production for one night in support of One Drop.  The Moonridge team is honored to oversee the community engagement component with local and global philanthropists. This grand-scale event helps families and 

communities from the developing world improve their lives by empowering them to create positive and sustainable changes through access to clean water. The fifth annual One Night for One Drop event was an amazing success where a sold-out audience in the Zumanity Theatre at New York-New York Hotel & Casino was beguiled by some of the world’s most daring circus acts, star-studded vocal performances, and an appearance by William Shatner and Redfoo.  This year's event brought us to our goal of raising approximately $30 million dollars over a five-year period – a significant and transformative humanitarian investment.

Philanthropy Spotlight: How Chicken Changes Lives

Justin Micatrotto, Philanthropist

Giving from his heart while using his head for strategy describes the philosophy by which Justin Micatrotto has grown his business and his community.  As the president of the MRG Marketing & Management, which owns and operates more than 27 Raising Cane’s in Las Vegas; Reno, Nevada; and Arizona, Justin understood from the beginning that customers are loyal to businesses that are socially responsible.  In the early days, volunteering time and donating food were a way for he and his employees to spread the word about Raising Cane’s – an effort and belief that payed off in a big way.  Although Raising Cane’s has achieved clear and distinct name recognition and success, Justin continues to recognize the value in building a strong community through charitable causes. MRG Marketing & Management has spearheaded numerous altruistic events such as supporting JDRF, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, and veterans. Through his leadership, Justin builds the capacity of his employees to put the needs of customers first, while recognizing value in what he has coined “Community Strong”.  

By modeling a can-do, all hands-on-deck approach to giving back, Justin inspires a desire to pay it forward with his employees. And his giving extends beyond his restaurants, he has recently joined the Nevada Corporate Giving Council and is a founding member and current co-chair of United Way's Young Philanthropists Society. This self-proclaimed “chicken man” is a leader of substance who translates his beliefs into action through direct involvement and support of local charities while establishing a corporate culture of giving. Justin Micatrotto makes a living dealing in chicken fingers, but he strengthens our community by capturing hearts.

Señora of Excellence at Moonridge

Congratulations to our very own Ms. Julie Murray on being awarded "Humanitarian of the Year" by The Señoras of Excellence and Señores of Distinction (SOESOD). The SOESOD organization was created by community leader Sandy Peltyn to recognize men and women who in addition to excelling professionally, have strengthened our community in substantial ways.  Each year men and women are honored in the following categories:

       • Señoras of Excellence

       • Señores of Distinction

       • Lifetime Achievement Award

       • Humanitarian of the Year Award

       • Corporation of Excellence

       • Corporation of Distinction


A gala is held each year to celebrate the contributions of honorees and all proceeds from the event benefit local charities such as Casa de Luz, Career Threads, and the Latin Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship Fund.  Previous honorees include: Governor Brian Sandoval, Diana Bennett, Sen. Richard Bryan, Jerry Nadal, Jan Jones Blackhurst, Michael Brown and others. The 2017 honorees are: Dr. Barbara Atkinson, Yolanda T. King, Brad Friedmutter, Honorable Governor Bob Miller, Julie Murray, Las Vegas Sands, and Encore Productions. Under the skilled leadership of chair Sandy Peltyn, the organization continues to acknowledge leaders in our valley whose contributions transform the lives of others.  The Moonridge Group team congratulates the 2017 honorees and are extremely proud of our leader Ms. Julie Murray! If you would like to attend this event, this year the gala will be on Friday, June 9 at the Wynn Las Vegas.


For more information, please visit 

Upcoming Events

What: A council of corporate funders who meet quarterly with a commitment to philanthropy to build connectivity, share best practices, and gain a deeper understanding of community issues. For more information on joining this group, please contact Melody Zita.

Quarterly Meetings: Second Quarter Meeting on Thursday, June 15, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Contact: Melody Zita at


What: An intimate gathering of individual funders and family foundations.  For more information on joining this collective impact group, which shares best practices and discusses current needs of Las Vegas, please contact Melody Zita.

Quarterly Meetings: Second Quarter Meeting on Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Contact: Melody Zita at


What: The Moonridge Foundation and a team of volunteers head to Carlos Santana's hometown.  The team will spend the weekend helping at Carlos' Medical Clinic Santuario de Luz. 

Date: June 15 - 18, 2017


What: Moonridge Group will host its second annual Philanthropy Leadership Summit, Reno.  Stay tuned for more details on this inspiring event!

Date: Friday, September 15, 2017

Time: 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Location: Nevada Museum of Art - 160 W Liberty St, Reno, NV 89501

Contact: Melody Zita at


What: Join us for the 6th annual Walk for Water on October 21, 2017 starting at The Smith Center and ending at the Springs Preserve.  Bring out friends, family and colleagues for a fun filled morning!  Carry a bucket to pay tribute to the millions of women and children who do this daily while also raising awareness about water issues locally and globally.

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Location: The Smith Center to the Springs Preserve
Contact: Dane Jonas at

Downtown Cares
Moonridge in Mexico
One Night for One Drop
Señora of Excellence
Philanthropy Spotlight
Upcoming Events
bottom of page