For the fabulous Elaine Wynn, giving back is always in style.
As the co-founder of Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts, the revered Elaine Wynn is often recognized for her impact on the gaming and hospitality industries. Yet it’s her generous spirit and kind heart that will be honored on Sept. 11 at Communities In Schools of Nevada’s Today for Tomorrow gala at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. As the founding chairperson of the organization’s Nevada chapter and the current chairperson of Communities In Schools National, Wynn has rallied for educational opportunities for children most in need for more than two decades. Here, Wynn exclusively discusses why championing children is a cause near and dear to her heart. cisnevada.org
Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition at the Communities In Schools (CIS) of Nevada’s Today for Tomorrow gala. Why is the organization’s mission to help vulnerable children stay in school a personal matter for you? For those of us who are most concerned about education and the well-being of our youngsters—particularly the ones who are disadvantaged and do not have equal access to opportunity—Communities In Schools is dedicated to level the playing field. What CIS is engaged in is providing what we refer to as wraparound services for children who need certain things before they can even begin to contemplate learning in school. It’s been demonstrated over and over again that if a child is not properly clothed, fed or attended to, it’s very hard for them to concentrate on learning or having any kind of positive feelings of self-esteem when they’re worried about so many other things. What CIS does is create an elaborate system of partnerships, with entities that are both private and public, to remove these barriers and to create opportunities to help a child advance and fulfill their potential.
What does it mean to you to be recognized for your admirable efforts? It’s meaningful because I want to be a representative of all of the hundreds of people that are part of this organization. Every single link is important, and I’m just proud and honored to be serving alongside other people who feel the way I do—that this is worthwhile work. It’s been proven over and over again by our statistics, and our evidence, that when we execute our work well, it does in fact make a difference.
As the founding chairperson of CIS Nevada, what philanthropic accomplishments have meant the most to you since becoming involved? The embracement of the Communities In Schools programming, methodology and its personnel. When you’re considered to be the leading expert in the country on these wraparound services for children, it’s an accomplished goal to be valued, appreciated and understood for the work that you’re doing and the benefit that you’re providing. If your philanthropic efforts result in strong support, and that helps you sustain what you’re doing and allows you to replicate it to many more families and children, that feels good.
Who inspires you? People who tend to be selfless, but not powerless. I’m always gravitating toward people who are kind and optimistic, who believe a solution to every problem exists. It’s the Mandelas and Obamas of the world. It’s so many people that have walked this path, including CIS founder Bill Milliken, who changed my life,
What do you want your legacy to be? The same thing I thought when I was in high school and my senior English teacher asked our class that question: I hope to set a good example.
And what do you enjoy most about living in Las Vegas? The resilience of this city. No matter where people are or where they go, there’s no place in the world like Las Vegas. When you think about an immediate moment of having fun and enjoying yourself—no matter how serious and weird things get—we all need to laugh and dance and watch other people sing and perform. The extravagance of Las Vegas is iconic, and it’s the reason why the minute things opened up, everybody decided to come here.
Photography by: JERRY METELLUS