News | May 5, 2023
On April 26, the annual Sands Cares Accelerator Virtual Global Celebration highlighted nonprofit members’ accomplishments in the exclusive three-year membership program and celebrated the global initiative’s third graduate, Las Vegas-based Green Our Planet.
Established to advance nonprofits to deliver greater community impact, the Sands Cares Accelerator was inspired by Sands’ founder Sheldon G. Adelson and his legacy of creating successful businesses and giving back to communities through meaningful philanthropic involvement. During the three-year journey, nonprofits focus on building their capacity in a strategic area or enhancing a program offering to better serve the community. Sands serves as a catalyst and mentor for helping organizations achieve their goals.
The highlight of the 2023 Sands Cares Accelerator Global Celebration was the official graduation of Green Our Planet, which joined the Sands Cares Accelerator in 2020 with three goals: expand its school garden program, elevate its marketing capability and launch a B corporation, HydroHealth, to bring hydroponic gardens to workplaces.
However, Green Our Planet quickly proved its flexibility and innovative thinking when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted schools to shutter in-person learning. The nonprofit pivoted with its school program to focus on hydroponic gardens that could be grown anywhere and year-round, including in teachers’ homes while they taught remotely.
Paired with curriculum that complement teachers’ prepared lessons, the hydroponics garden program helped Green Our Planet become the largest science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) garden program for schools in the United States. In part through its Sands Cares Accelerator participation, Green Our Planet’s hydroponics program has grown from 20 schools in Nevada to 200 schools in 33 states.
“The funding and resources we received from the Sands Cares Accelerator not only sustained our organization during a very challenging time, but helped us meet the changing needs of schools,” Ciara Byrne, co-founder and co-CEO of Green Our Planet, said. “In particular, the customized guidance and mentoring that Sands provided to myself and my team broadened our knowledge and skillsets as we up-leveled our infrastructure and scaled our garden offerings. We are incredibly grateful to have been a member of the Sands Cares Accelerator and are planning a bright future as a stronger, and more experienced organization.”
The 2023 Sands Cares Accelerator Global Celebration also featured progress updates from the program’s three current members: Art Outreach Singapore, Green Future Macao and The LGBTQ+ Center for Southern Nevada (The Center), which Sands welcomed into the program in January.
Art Outreach Singapore, now the most senior member of Sands Cares Accelerator, aims to increase art appreciation and support for local artists in Singapore and is focusing its time in the Sands Cares Accelerator on growing its HEARTH program. Born during the pandemic as a resource for local artists, HEARTH is an exhibition space where they can share and develop work.
Eve Hoon, director of programs and partnerships at Art Outreach, said that with funding and guidance from the Sands Cares Accelerator, the organization has moved HEARTH into a new purpose-built space that can host exhibitions year-round, doubling its presentation area. Additionally, Art Outreach now can offer mentorship to artists, as well as marketing and financial support to help them build stronger, more professional presentations of their work. Finally, the organization has launched a series of professional development talks at HEARTH to further guide and encourage local artists. Since its time in the Sands Cares Accelerator, the HEARTH program has hosted 41 exhibitions with 153 artists that reached more than 20,000 in-person and online visitors.
Green Future Macao, now in its second year in the Sands Cares Accelerator, is a nongovernment organization founded in 2012 to provide education and awareness initiatives that can improve commercial recycling rates in the region. During its membership, Green Future launched Sap Fong, an environmental social enterprise that provides Macao businesses with waste sorting and logistics to prepare cardboard for recycling.
During the 2023 Sands Cares Accelerator Global Celebration, Joey Choi, vice chairman of Green Future, detailed how Sap Fong established two regular service routes in 2022 and has recycled more than 150,000 kilograms of cardboard since October 2022. Sap Fong also has provided recycling services to exhibitions and large events in Macao, recycling more than 10,000 kilograms of cardboard in just two months in 2023.
The Center is the newest member of the Sands Cares Accelerator. Over the past 30 years, The Center has worked to be a haven for all and strives to empower people to live authentic lives with a range of services that span healthcare, HIV testing and treatment at the Arlene Cooper Community Health Center; community engagement and advocacy for people in crisis; and supportive and life-enriching programs for people at all stages of life.
The Center’s goal in the Sands Cares Accelerator is to create effective marketing and story-telling strategies and programs to educate about its mission, services and impact, ultimately to reach more people, expand program participation and develop new revenue sources to sustain long-term growth. John Waldron, CEO of The Center, outlined the organization’s early achievements since joining Sands Cares Accelerator in January, which include establishing its three-year plan, identifying metrics and securing third-party support for initial priorities such as message development.
Since 2017, Sands has invested $1.4 million in Sands Cares Accelerator member organizations, and Team Members have contributed 535 hours of skill-based consulting and mentoring to support achievement of their goals in the program.
To learn more about the Sands Cares Accelerator, please visit https://www.sands.com/responsibility/communities/sands-cares-accelerator/