Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Harrah’s Donates $30M to UNLV

Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has indicated its intentions to donate $30 million to the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The donation will be made through the casino group’s foundation, which will be the largest corporate gift in the University’s history.

UNLV will put the money to good use by paying for half of the cost of an academic building that will anchor the proposed INNovation Village facility, and the remaining funds will go towards research, recruitment, training, and education.

Read the full article here.

The interesting backdrop to this donation is the current donation is that Harrah’s and Caesar’s merged in 2005, creating a mega-gaming entity. The foundation remained a subsidiary of the Harrah’s side (although I believe that Caesar’s has a foundation as well) and thus, the donation will come from Harrah’s, and not the merged entity.

Strangely enough, the donation is going to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and not the University of Nevada Reno. The reason that this is interesting is because William F. Harrah was a businessman who made his fortune in Northern Nevada, specifically in Reno and Lake Tahoe. You can still drive down busy streets of Reno, Nevada, and see the acres of pasture land that “Bill” Harrah once called home, and which is still referred to as the Harrah Ranch today. I believe that it is a wonderful gesture for the Harrah Foundation to being to distribute the Foundation’s assets, and more so to keep those assets in Nevada; however, I believe that those assets would have been better spent in Bill Harrah’s backyard at the University of Nevada. Additionally, I would like to commend the Harrah foundation, and offer my sincere hope that such donative actions will inspire other gaming entities to reposition some of their earnings back into the community through foundations or other charitable entities.

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