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Philanthropy Advisors Newsletter | Q3 2018

The Magic of Giving

Having the privilege to guide and advise corporate and private funders throughout the past several years, I have often wondered about the art and science of giving.  What I have learned through careful observation and relationship building is that giving, in any form, is much more than a business transaction. Even though giving often includes a monetary exchange of funds in the form of a charitable contribution, this is altogether different than a typical business matter. Giving is both a synergy between the heart, and a responsibility to maximize a donor’s contribution through strategy, metrics, and a measurable return on investment. When a funder’s heart and head are in balance, the act of giving is far more impactful. 

Much has been written about the motivation behind giving, however, I have learned the desire to make things better and to uplift others, comes from a deeply personal place rooted in an individual’s experience and his or her view of the world. Funders need to know their gift can make a difference, they need to believe in the mission of an organization, and they give because the act of doing so yields personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and results. The art of giving involves opportunity, timing, and personal motivation, however, today’s funders also expect accountability and want data to clearly demonstrate the impact of their gift.  When giving includes the right amount of heart and head ingredients, trust is built with a funder and they understand their gift will be maximized.  Without trust and an authentic understanding of what matters most to a donor, the giving experience can leave a funder feeling ambivalent and questioning the impact of their actions, however, through mutual trust and thoughtful guidance, funders know their donation will empower others and elevate their communities.  Trust, as the adage prescribes, must be earned, but once firmly established is the magic of what contributes to a legacy of changing the world -  one act of kindness and measurement at a time.

Warm Regards,
Julie Murray
CEO & Principal

Moonridge Group & The Mayor’s Fund: A Magnificent Partnership
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Mayor Carolyn Goodman with Mr. Tom Thomas

Moonridge Group is thrilled to join forces with the Honorable Carolyn Goodman and her team to facilitate and provide guidance for the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE. The Mayor’s vision is to improve the quality of life for Las Vegas residents through collective action within public and private partnerships. The Fund includes a multi-faceted strategy that includes reach, stability and accountability of government, private sector entrepreneurship, proven expertise of local non-profit organizations, and the altruistic investment of philanthropic leaders, companies, and foundations. The LIFE priorities and initiatives embrace Livability, Innovation, Future, and Education. The public introduction of Mayor Goodman’s LIFE fund was held on Wednesday, September 12 at the Strong Start Academy and was attended by numerous philanthropists and moderated by CLV Communications Director David Riggleman. The event included the following notable speakers: Mayor Goodman, Scott Adams, Las Vegas City Manager, our own Julie Murray, and William Kight who spoke about his personal journey with homelessness. In addition, Tom Thomas, co-chair of the Greater Good Council presented a check to Mayor Goodman for $100K in support of The Courtyard Center to end homelessness.  Rich Worthington pledged $10K from the Molasky Group and $10K from his personal funds to support the Mayor’s Fund. Mayor Goodman also pledged $10K per year from the Goodman family to support the Fund. We are blessed to live in such an amazing city where leaders like Mayor Goodman demonstrate the drive, passion, and commitment to others to firmly establish Las Vegas as a thriving and connected community that we can all be proud to call home.

Welcome New Team Member!
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Moonridge Group is thrilled to welcome Mr. A.J. Crame to the team.  A.J. is a born-and-raised Las Vegas native who lives to write. Following his graduation from Bishop Gorman High School, he earned his degree in English Literature from UNLV and spent about a decade working in education both in the high school setting and as a teacher at the Springs Preserve.  A.J. loves writing non-fiction, composing music, and reading anything and everything he can get his hands on. When not writing, A.J. is a hockey fanatic!  He will tell you that he has been a fan of hockey for literally his entire life and has visited eleven different NHL stadiums thought the years to watch his favorite team the Pittsburgh Penguins play.  A.J. is excited to join the team to help strengthen Moonridge Group’s social media presence and to share the wonderful things happening in the world of philanthropy. Welcome aboard, A.J.!


Philanthropy Spotlight: Mr. Brian Kunec—A Builder With Heart

Each quarter Moonridge Group features a local philanthropist whose commitment and can-do approach to uplifting the community sets him apart from his peers.  This quarter, we are thrilled to highlight Mr. Brian Kunec, Regional General Manager for KB Home. Brian serves as the chairman of One Drop’s Walk for Water and set a record for the most Walkers and Sponsors this year. In addition to practicing the importance of giving back in his personal life, Brian prides himself on the culture and community engagement he has built at KB Home. As Brian states: “KB Home doesn’t merely build subdivisions, we build communities.” Brian has worked hard to not only grow the KB Home brand as the best option for first-time home buyers, but has also worked hard to create a culture of trust within his company that consists of giving back among all KB employees. 


Being part of the Las Vegas community is part of the core values at KB Home which includes the following pillars: Homelessness, Education, and the Environment.  With regard to the environment, KB Home is one of only two Energy Star certified home builders in the state of Nevada! Energy Certified homes use 35% less energy on average than other homes and also contribute 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere which allows KB Home to join the fight against climate change. One needs to look no further than the classrooms of Quannah McCaw Elementary School to witness Brian’s commitment and passion for education. As the son of an educator, Brian has always understood the importance of education. He and his team at KB Home recently donated more than $15,500 worth of laptop computers and over $1,700 of school supplies to support the teachers and students at Quannah McCaw Elementary in North Las Vegas. Brian believes the biggest aspect of philanthropy is the giving of one’s time, but also fully recognizes the power of how a community can be changed with a financial investment as well. When asked how Las Vegas can galvanize more individuals to make the commitment of money and time, he shared that people need to become invested by seeing the personal impact philanthropy can make upon the lives of others – “make the connection to the human journey and people will be motivated to act.” When Brian isn’t leading his company or giving back to the community, he can be found traveling with his wife Alejandra, enjoying great food, working out, and playing with his three beloved Golden Retrievers named Max, Manolo, and Lola. Moonridge Group is proud to call Mr. Brian Kunec our friend and we thank him for being a leader and a businessman with a very big heart!


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Why Millennials Give?
A large part of our work at Moonridge Group involves analyzing and understanding the reasons individuals give and the motivation behind their giving. The decision to give is a very personal choice that can be fueled by a number of factors one of which includes a person’s generation. Millennials- young people in their 20’s and early 30’s – are dramatically changing the philanthropic landscape. They are very informed about charities and expect a lot of information and consistent communication from non-profit organizations. Following are some trends unique to millennials:

  • Millennials are digitally connected; they prefer to give through social media platforms

  • Millennials amplify their giving by sharing their favorite causes on social media

  • Millennials care more about results than institutions, but authenticity and personal stories resonate deeply

  • Millennials monitor social media for causes

  • Millennials demand transparency. They want to know where their dollars are going and how their contribution will be used

3 Tips for Funders
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Select What’s Important to You – When thinking about where to donate your money, take a moment to reflect what your top priorities are.  Are you passionate about education, human services, animal welfare, or the environment?  In addition, would you rather donate to a cause with local or global impact?  Sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and the Charities Review Council are great resources to examine before you give.

Dot Your I’s – Before making a charitable contribution, make sure that the charity of your choosing is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt entity which means that are classified as a 501(c)3 organization. You can make this determination by visiting the IRS non-profit charities database which has the complete list of organizations holding 501(c)3 status.  If the charity of your choosing is not on this list, your contribution will not be tax deductible.

If you Have a Bit of Time to Spare – Call the organization and ask about volunteering opportunities.  Certain charities need more volunteers than normal during the holidays to help cook and serve meals or to help gather food items to stock their pantries.  Consider involving/inviting your personal or professional networks to make an even greater impact.

Moonridge Group Welcomes the Raiders Women’s Association
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Moonridge Group’s CEO & Principal Ms. Julie Murray welcomed the Las Vegas Raiders Women’s Association at a luncheon held at the M Resort in September.  Julie joined an amazing line-up of guest speakers, all of whom attended the event in order to provide a special Las Vegas welcome to the Raiders Women’s Association. Julie spoke with the group about the various ways the association could engage with the Las Vegas community through philanthropy and volunteerism and expressed her gratitude and the good fortune of the Las Vegas community to welcome these extraordinary ladies to their new home.

Philanthropy Leaders Summit Reno: A Northern Success!
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Heather Libonati and Julie Murray
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Mr. Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia

Moonridge Group’s 3rd annual Reno Philanthropy Leaders Summit, which was led by our very own amazing Heather Libonati, was held on September 21st at the beautiful Nevada Museum of Art (NMA) with a sold-out capacity crowd of over 200 funders and special guests. The Summit was emceed by the incomparable Punam Mathur and David B. Walker, CEO of the Museum, provided welcoming remarks. The Summit assembled an amazing group of leaders from Patagonia, Switch, Barrick, and Tesla to discuss the power philanthropy has to transform people, communities, and our world.

Keynote speaker Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Public Engagement for Patagonia, shared how the power of a single individual to create good can forever change the landscape of our planet and humanity. He challenged fellow business leaders to ask how they can lead their businesses to make an impact on the planet and adopt a “do no harm” mentality from the supply chain to the final product.  Patagonia, a globally recognized outdoor apparel company, promotes fair labor practices and safe working conditions throughout its supply chain as part of its commitment to Corporate Responsibility. His words and emphasis on the “gratitude railroad” to conquer all social issues moved the standing-room only crowd. The Transformational Philanthropy panel consisting of Barrick Gold’s Director of CSR, Rebecca Darling, and Kristen Avansino, President & Executive Director for the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, highlighted the importance of social investment and strategic collaborations to truly transform corporate culture, while the Next Generation Panel led by Joe Bruce and Konner Robinson spoke about the need to give to bring equity and justice to the world.  Konner stated that a higher level of commitment is needed from individuals in a position to give back and added that “it is no longer enough to just give from your heart.” The Innovative Philanthropy Panel included Kristi Overgaard, Chief Brand Officer at Switch and Chris Reilly, Workforce Development and Education Lead at Tesla who connected on a personal level with the tech-oriented audience by describing their focus and commitment to invest in our youth and arm them with the tools they need to survive in a STEAM driven workforce. Jeremy Aguero, Principal Analyst at Applied Analysis reviewed the highlights from the Corporate Philanthropy Report and reminded the listeners that Nevada has the fewest natives of any state in the country meaning a choice was made to live in Nevada, and a choice to continue the improvements in education, homelessness, and food insecurity must also be made. A special thank you to Turkey & Peter Stremmel who opened their beautiful home and hosted the pre-event reception and to the following amazing sponsors:

No Borders
Philanthropy Spotlight
Why Millennials Give
Tips for Funders
Welcome Raiders Women's
PLS Reno

SAVE THE DATE! One Night for One Drop:
We are excited to announce the 7th annual One Night for One Drop will be held March 8, 2019 at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Contact Tiffany Twohig – for more information.

What: Join us for the Walk for Water for One Drop at the Springs Preserve! The walk brings together students of all ages, local businesses, individuals and families to raise awareness and pay tribute to the millions of women and children who spend hours a day collecting water in the developing world. Participants have the option to carry a bucket filled with water to simulate this physically challenging as well as sometimes dangerous job. All proceeds from the event will stay local for youth education, smart technology, and conservation efforts.

Where: Springs Preserve
When: Saturday, October 13th at 8:30am
Contact: Kristina Riggans –

What: A council of corporate and individual funders who meet quarterly to network and share best practices in corporate giving.

Combined Q4 Meeting: December 6, 2018
Time: 11:30am to 1:30pm
Where: Park MGM
Contact: Heather Libonati at


Quarter 4 All Cohort Event: Monday, December 10, 2018

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: Las Vegas Country Club

Contact: Kristy Keller at

Upcoming Events
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