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Philanthropy Catalyst Newsletter | Q1 2017

Moonridge Group Reflects on 2016

As a firm whose main purpose is to advise and guide organizations and individuals on how best to maximize their philanthropic investment, it is always gratifying to reflect on the impact made and goals realized as a of result of hard work and collaboration. We were grateful for the rewarding opportunities with diverse clients in 2016. From working with hotels and gaming manufacturing companies to assist them in developing giving guidelines and corporate social responsibility efforts, to our work with the Nevada Medical Center’s mission to ensure excellence in healthcare through collaboration and innovation…our focus on collective impact steered our work.


No better example of this can be found than the annual One Night for One Drop event where Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their talent and time in support of One Drop, an international non-profit organization devoted to providing access to safe water and conservation locally and globally. As part of the leadership team of this humanitarian Cirque event, the far-reaching impact of this work supports improved water quality for over one million people in Central America, West Africa and India, as well as right here in Las Vegas.

Our work with the Nevada Medical Center has been an ongoing collaboration, initiated by Eric Hilton, that will yield significant and transformational access to quality and affordable healthcare for our community and state.

2017 promises to be a year where we continue to form collaborative relationships with our clients, our community, and one another to guide and advise others towards significant and lasting change.

Warm Regards,
Julie Murray
CEO & Principal

Hero. Mentor. Best Friend.

7/1/1933 - 12/10/2016

Who would have thought that a community outreach meeting could turn into the most meaningful friendship of a lifetime?
It was during a meeting at Catholic Charities in the Summer of 2006 when I first met Eric Hilton. He was wearing a periwinkle blue jacket that matched his sparkly blue eyes, and an instant connection was formed that led to a partnership to fulfill his dream to eradicate hunger in the valley.
Our friendship began by working together to launch Three Square…a life-changing experience. For five rewarding years, we built Three Square and saw first-hand how lives can be changed when adults and children are no longer food insecure. Following the success of Three Square, Eric declared he had one more project he wanted to give to the community – one that would significantly impact healthcare in Nevada.

It continues to be my honor and privilege that he trusted me to bring his vision to life through his philanthropy. And so, under his vision and thoughtful guidance, the Nevada Medical Center was born. I believe Eric bravely battled the health issues, until the successful launch of the Nevada Medical Center was achieved. It meant so much to him to bear witness to his dream of ensuring excellence in healthcare through a culture of collaboration and innovation. As with Three Square, the success of the Nevada Medical Center can be attributed to the team of leaders recruited by Eric. Both projects have and continue to thrive under the leadership of extraordinary change-makers in our community who championed Eric’s vision through their collaborative nature and desire to improve the lives of Nevadans.
I count my blessings daily for having had the honor of working with my best friend for 10 years, and I will miss him greatly.

Most Gratefully,
Julie Murray

There are so many devoted leaders in our valley, all of whom work tirelessly each day to improve the lives of others in our community. Because of their busy schedules, these leaders rarely if ever have the opportunity to connect with one another reflect, and share best practices. This dilemma was recognized by one of our city’s most beloved philanthropists, Dr. Gard Jameson who founded the Jameson Fellows, a group whose purpose is to create a culture of greater cohesion among non-profit leaders representing all five social sectors – health/human services, education, arts and culture, natural/built environment, and jobs/economy. The Fellowship recently welcomed its fourth cohort and has a robust alumnus of over 75 members.


Under the direction of Gard Jameson, Stephanie Rosol, Skye Coaching and the Moonridge Group, a collaborative effort was formed to build the connective tissue among Fellows so they learn to recognize their value to their community, their strengths as leaders, and how best to support one another. Through their experiences in the Jameson Fellowship, members learn about the power of collective impact and strengthen their understanding of teamwork, unity, trust and collaboration. The Moonridge team is extremely proud to help realize Gard’s dream to build and nurture a culture of trust and compassion. As his vision to build circles of trust progresses and the addition of new Fellows grows each year, there exists the substantive reality that solutions to our community’s toughest issues can be addressed - one Fellow at a time.

The Moonridge Group’s 6th annual Philanthropy Leaders Summit on February 10, 2016 was extremely well-received with 250 funders in attendance. There were three wonderful panels, one of which was a youth panel comprised of high school students who spoke about what Philanthropy meant to them. Their insights included:
   Opportunity to connect with others on a personal and meaningful level
   Being a part of something bigger than yourself
   Looking outward to make an impact
   To whom much is given, much is expected

Moonridge Group is honored to work with philanthropists of all ages, from the extraordinary youth who spoke at the Summit, to long-term funders of corporations and family foundations. The goal  was to inspire, connect, and inform funders about the latest trends in giving. Thanks to the outstanding speakers, sponsors and attendees...mission accomplished!

Westgate Las Vegas Casino & Resort: Giving Back in Action

Many organizations with good intentions often talk about how they can give back to their communities and expand efforts beyond the bottom line. When it comes to companies who put actions behind their words, a fine example includes the employees at the Westgate Las Vegas Casino & Resort. Under the leadership of Cami Christensen, Vice President of Hotel Operations and Karl Johnson, Vice President of Human Resources, the Westgate team has made a significant impact in our valley by translating their beliefs into action. The strategy behind their giving is provided by the Moonridge Group team who advises them how to maximize their return on investment, whether that investment be in-kind donations, volunteerism, or cash contributions.

As philanthropy advisors, Moonridge Group’s mission is to ensure that the vision and goals of organizations can be realized. An

example of how Westgate is changing lives includes providing 150 holiday gift cards to teenagers through Casa De Luz, an organization whose purpose is to provide a house of worship and community resource in the neighborhood known as naked city,
and leverages that in-kind gift with donations of time and/or cash.

Westgate employees can also be found walking, bowling, and running for various charities and are not afraid to roll up their sleeves to pick up trash, paint buildings, pull weeds, and provide support wherever needed. The Moonridge Group enjoys the collaborative partnership established with the team from Westgate and greatly respects their commitment to help others in our community. Their generous, can-do approach to help those in need is recognized and extremely valued.  

Katie Lever


The Moonridge Foundation recognized that various awards exist in our city for the “best” architect, doctor, lawyer, artist, alumnus, etc. The Foundation believes it is also important to highlight individuals in our community who do extraordinary work through their philanthropy.  Starting in 2016, the Foundation began selecting a Philanthropist-of-the-Month who is featured in Luxury magazine.  Katie Lever was selected for the January 2017 Philanthropist of the Month, as she has distinguished herself as a philanthropic leader in our valley for many years. Not only does she serve as the chairwoman for the American Heart Association’s annual “Go Red for Women” fundraising event under which Katie’s leadership raised more than in year’s past, she also serves as the chairwoman for One Drop/Cirque’s Walk for Water.  Under Katie’s direction, this event which inspires families, businesses, high school and college students to participate in a walk-a-thon from The Smith Center to the Springs Preserve to raise awareness and funds for water due to Katie’s strength, poise, and collaborative spirit. Katie’s ability to activate members of the community towards a common purpose is why she is so deserving of this recognition.



What: Join us for the 5th annual One Night for ONE DROP on March 3, 2017 at the Zumanity Theater in New York-New York Hotel and Casino, a global philanthropy event! It is an exciting and unique charity event produced by Cirque du Soleil with industry leading talent from around the world volunteering their time all for a very important cause…water. In addition to this once-in-a-lifetime performance, there are also amazing pre-and post parties, silent and live auctions, and delectable food and drinks. Over $24M has been raised in the last 4 years with funds raised going towards international water issues, as well as water conservation and education efforts in Las Vegas through the new Water Works exhibit scheduled to open this year at the Springs Preserve.

Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Location: New York New York Hotel & Casino
Contact: Tiffany at



What: A council of corporate funders who meet quarterly to network and share best practices in corporate giving. For more information on joining this group, please contact Melody Zita.

Quarterly Meetings: First Quarter Meeting on Thursday, March 23, 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: First Quarter Meeting on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM

Contact: Melody Zita at


What: Moonridge Group will host its second annual Philanthropy Leadership Summit, Reno September 2017. Stay tuned for more details on this inspiring event.

Date: September 2017

Contact: Melody Zita at

Eric Hilton Legacy
Jameson Fellowship
Phil. Leaders Summit
Phil. of the Month
Corp. Phil. Spotlight
Projected Trends
Upcoming Events
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