Las Vegas has plenty of Elvis impersonators, so why not Santa Claus? Steve Wynn, Las Vegas mogul, donated $2 million to the United Way of Southern Nevada -- anonymously, at first -- benefiting 4,000 needy families in the state. Half of the families received $500 bank cards just before Christmas 2011, while the remaining 2,000 received their gift cards in June, when Wynn was revealed as the donor.
"We wanted it to hit in the middle of summer to give relief to families from the summer doldrums," said Cass Palmer, CEO of the United Way of Southern Nevada, of the second donation. "We know times are troubling here in Las Vegas."
The $2 million total donation was the United Way's largest to date and comes at a time when unemployment in the Las Vegas metro area tops 11 percent. Families who received the gifts were vetted by the United Way's partner agencies. All are living at or below the state poverty level of $16,000 a year.
The CEO of Wynn Resorts, which developed the luxury properties Bellagio and Mirage, has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. Last year, he says he gave away 125 percent of his salary. Las Vegas, with its high-rolling, easy-money reputation, is a place where the haves and have-nots are in stark contrast. Kudos to Wynn for putting his wealth to work for the benefit of those who are struggling financially.
What do you think of Wynn's gift to needy families?
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