Philanthropist Spotlight: The Ellis Women Find a Way with Their Will
At Moonridge Group, we work alongside people with great stories behind the great things that they are doing in their communities and around the world. Sharing these stories is an opportunity to recognize the positive influences around us.
“With everything that’s been happening in Vegas in this past year, it’s like the world finally has a microscope looking at what this community is capable of,” says Christina Ellis, Director of Marketing for Ellis Island and member of Nevada Women’s Philanthropy. While that microscope she’s talking about revealed plenty about the Las Vegas community as a whole - our resilience, our willingness to help our neighbors, our enthusiasm when finally given something to rally behind - the up-close view also highlighted the kindness and giving spirit of individuals within this city. Christina and her family stand out among them.
In response to the tragedies of 1 October, Ellis Island hosted a “Sing for Strength” karaoke event, raising $100,000 for the Las Vegas Victims Fund, including a matching contribution from UFC’s Dana White. When talking about the family’s motivations in giving back to this community, Christina’s mother Cindy Ellis says, “This city has been very, very kind to us as we’ve raised our family here … I’m looking at a future for my daughters’ families. I want the future generations to live in as good, or even a better place than now.”
She and her family certainly do their part, more than just stepping up when sudden need arises. Cindy serves as the President for Nevada Women’s Philanthropy where over 100 members work closely with causes that directly impact Southern Nevada’s population by donating upwards of $400,000 annually. But more than just handing out cash and moving on, NWP coaches the organizations they work with to be efficient in effecting change. The NWP model is a great example of the evolving form of philanthropy that uses analytics to ensure that funds are impacting their causes with as much power as possible.
Cindy’s three daughters, Christina, Anamarie, and Michaela, are following in her philanthropic footsteps. Christina and Anamarie participate in NWP after earning their college degrees in addition to the consistent contributions they make as a family. Her youngest daughter Michaela, currently a senior at the University of San Diego, is also involved in the family's philanthropic endeavors and looks forward to joining NWP after graduation. These women strive to bring positive change to their community because they see the need. Anamarie says that while their philanthropic activities inspire her, their exposure to these important issues also drives her to want to do more. She says, “I don’t feel like what I’m doing is enough because there’s always so much more to do.”
That feeling of wanting to do more is not from a lack of trying. Cindy Ellis has had her girls giving back since they were kids in school, volunteering and raising money for worthy causes. Upcoming this month is the 20th annual Halloween Bash at Ellis Island for Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. For two decades, the Ellis family has been donating space at their hotel for these kids to have a fun, safe trick-or-treating experience, and last year, they raised $75,000 for the cause as well. Cindy's daughters cite this event as teaching them about the value of philanthropy from a young age. Without a doubt, they are looking forward to another year of making a difference, though because of just how big their hearts are, they will probably still leave wishing they could do more.
If you have any interest in learning more about this event or ways you can get involved, visit the Candlelighters Website. You can also find out more about Nevada Women's Philanthropy or keep up with Ellis Island to remain aware of the awesome things they are doing.
See other great things you wish we were talking about? Reach out to us via email at AJ@moonridgegroup.com, via social media through @MoonridgeGroup on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and use the hashtag #bethechange. We love hearing about the wonderful things going on around us.