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  • Writer's pictureMoonridge Group

Greater Good Council and Nevada Corporate Giving Council Learn about Education

The Greater Good Council (GGC) is a group of philanthropists and family foundations determined to make a social impact. The Nevada Corporate Giving Council (NCGC) is an affiliation of corporate leaders focused on improving our State through community engagement and business philanthropy. The two groups get together quarterly to learn about ways we can improve the community.

GGC co-chairs Diana Bennett and Tom Thomas address the group with words about the importance of giving, especially during the holiday season

On December 6, we held our fourth quarter convening of the GGC and NCGC at the Park MGM. We could not be more grateful for the opportunity to be part of something so powerful! Everybody in the room was engaged and ready to learn, both about what their efforts have yielded in 2018 and about more ways they can bring about positive change in our Las Vegas community.

Even before the event began, the kindness was flowing. As people were mingling and gearing up for the agenda, I jotted down notes on the event and set up (Park MGM had done such a wonderful job with the room that I wanted to remember it for future reference). When one of Park's employees noticed me writing and sketching a diagram of the room, he tapped me on the shoulder and offered their printed floor layout plan. "This might help you," he said while laughing. I didn't take it as an insult to my amateur skills as an artist. It was just evidence of the wonderful service Park provides from top to bottom.

Shelley Gitomer of MGM Resorts and the co-chair of NCGC gave us all a warm welcome

Once everyone settled in, co-chairs from both councils addressed the group about the spirit of giving and the power people possess to make a difference. Tom Thomas, in referencing the Homeless Courtyard Resource Center, said something that struck a chord: "We can't singularly solve homelessness, but we can be part of the solution." It was a powerful statement that acknowledged the vast scope of nuanced problems like homelessness, because sometimes we can feel helpless against such big issues, but the second half of his statement reminds us that we can still do our part to make things better than they are.

Our panel discussion with CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara and CCSD student Ashley Macias, facilitated by Fox 5's Christine Maddela, enlightened us on the state of education in Clark County as well as the path moving forward. Dr. Jara talked about the sense of urgency adults need to feel in getting involved in students' educations, saying, "Our students have the potential to dream big, and we need to make sure we provide the opportunities to open up access for them to succeed." Ashley echoed his sentiments, sharing with us that she and her peers need to be pushed because she can see the lack of motivation creep into her classmates' behaviors. She attributes her success as a student to her tougher teachers.

"Don't bring a cookie cutter approach to a community" - Dr. Jara, CCSD Superintendent

Dr. Jara also talked about data-driven approaches to education, both from a curriculum standpoint and a funding standpoint. He wants to place the students in the classes they belong, where they will be pushed to perform at a higher level instead of being allowed to coast. On the funding side, he didn't shy away from tough questions about areas of strength and weakness. "The funding formula needs to change," he said outright, much to the satisfaction of our Applied Analysis guru, Jeremy Aguerro, who along with his colleague Martin Suman, gave an update on the Corporate Giving Report. Both Dr. Jara's remarks and the report highlighted how it's not just about giving, but giving strategically and staying engaged with the problem to see how the solution is progressing.

That is what both the GGC and the NCGC do so well. They do so much more than throw money at issues because - even if they can't erase a problem all on their own - they truly want to be part of the solution. We are so appreciative of the opportunity to work with the two groups, and we say that both as philanthropy advisers and as members of this community, a community made better by the actions of these individuals coming together.

See other great things you wish we were talking about? Reach out to us via email at, 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.

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