Through Sands Cares, the corporate giving and community engagement program of Las Vegas Sands, the Inspiring Children Foundation (ICF) became the first beneficiary of the Accelerator Program, a community partnership that invests in local non-profit organizations that have the potential to impact the community more robustly with additional resources and support from a major corporate partner. Through the program, Las Vegas Sands developed INSPIRE, an annual charity event and concert that has featured Jewel and Jason Mraz, as its annual fundraiser for Accelerator program participants.
“The INSPIRE concert with Jewel in 2017 really professionalized our program and forced us to get better organized in order to facilitate the outcome of the event,” Ryan Wolfington, co-founder of ICF, said. “I’ve personally been volunteering with the organization for 15, years since it was established, and it’s hard to help kids be their best, find time to fundraise and have the staff to facilitate it all. INSPIRE put everything together for us and created an opportunity for us to really establish what we do.”
ICF inspires at-risk children to become kind, hard-working, and grateful so that they are motivated to give their best to become professionals at life. The organization offers various programs including mentoring, education, project-driven learning, emotional intelligence, entrepreneur skills, apprenticeships, mindfulness, sports and nutrition. With the program’s success, 95% of ICF beneficiaries have received college scholarships to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Penn State and other Ivy League schools across the country.
“We offer a comprehensive youth development program and we have created an algorithm of happiness for our kids,” Wolfington said. “We teach them about survival, self-motivation and how to thrive internally and externally. We have a wide range of students that come looking for guidance, from children from good homes to homeless youth. We teach them to be the best they can be and provide the tools to excel.”
With the assistance of Sands Cares, ICF has been able to increase their staff and and marketing assistance, helping articulate what the program entails and has accomplished. The students that are in the various programs also run the foundation, offering them the opportunity to earn their way through the program, and teach them hands-on job skills with real responsibilities.
“When Sands Cares came in to help us, we were able to perfect our brand with their guidance and communicate what we do,” he said. “Just with the INSPIRE event, we were able to leverage what we’re doing in an incredible way. Board members were motivated by the visibility that we were attaining, donors gave more money as a result of Sands putting funds towards our mission and we gained a lot of third party recognition from just one event. Sands has high expectations in everything they do and it’s huge to have support from such an amazing company.”