The Staff of Las Vegas Sands Vote Where Donations Go

LAS VEGAS—In the casino, winning and losing is the name of the game. For Las Vegas Sands and its employees, giving back to the community is a win-win situation.

Sands Cares, the hotel brand’s corporate citizenship program, has donated $100,000 to five nonprofit organizations serving the local area. The Sands Give-Back Bank is its charitable giving initiative where employees at The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo Convention Center are encouraged and empowered to decide where the brand allocates the money.

“Team members here are deeply connected to the Las Vegas community. Through our program, we try to focus on volunteerism and in-kind monetary donations. The Sands Give-Back Bank is a set of funds set aside and a majority vote by employees determines which causes are supported. There are survey gatherings to gauge interest and, from there, we choose organizations that align with those causes and team members’ interests,” said Stephanie Stanton, director of operations, Sands Cares.

Including team members in the decision-making process of the Give-Back Bank is one way Las Vegas Sands strives to forge strong connections with its employees.

“The big thing for us is we have 10,000 team members; so trying to engage that number of people and find ways to do it, such as asking what they think and how the money should be allocated, is important. It’s an easy way to support a favorite charity,” said Stanton. “For us, we look at it this way…if team members feel connected, they will continue to be happy team members. So, we support what they support outside of their life at work. We want to make sure we honor that.”

To determine the causes to address as a company, the team at Las Vegas Sands looks at issues that need more attention in the local community.

“In 2015, our spotlight was on homeless youth, which is a population that gets lost in the shuffle and is a big challenge in Las Vegas. We partnered with Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and helped to bring awareness to the issue, and we continue to partner with them by providing funding, people to volunteer and in-kind donations. We make sure the population is being assisted,” said Stanton.

This year, 8,500 Las Vegas Sands employees voted to distribute money among five local nonprofits: HELP of Southern Nevada, Communities in Schools of Nevada, The Shade Tree/Noah’s Animal House, Three Square and U.S. Vets, Las Vegas. These organizations are working to help end abuse, hunger and homelessness locally.

“One of the things people don’t realize about Vegas is that there is a culture of service here. We are a generous city and, during the recession, giving went up 12% in Las Vegas. I think it’s because people care about the person standing next to them and want to be the first to help. Our team members show generosity every day and show support in their own lives by volunteering up to 50 hours a week. It’s because of who they are and what they do,” said Stanton.

Interest expressed by employees for other local issues will also receive support from the Sands Give-Back Bank program.

“If we can’t hit it during the big Give-Back Bank, there are other times of year where we can do it. In the month of April, it’s national Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and we do a donation drive for pet supplies,” said Stanton. “It shows our team that ‘we hear you.’ ”

—Corris Little