The events of 2020 have sparked a deeper societal conversation about the impact of systemic racism in the United States. This conversation occurred at Sands, as well, starting internally with our Team Members and blossoming into an enhanced effort to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for all, including expanding our investments in and partnerships with community organizations dedicated to diversity.
Beginning in June, Sands’ leadership team conducted a series of town halls, surveys and focus groups to engage Team Members in dialogue about what the company is currently doing to promote DEI issues and, more importantly, what our next steps should be. “Sands has always maintained DEI policies and practices, and we’ve invested in organizations that empower diverse groups in our community,” said Ron Reese, senior vice president of global communications and corporate affairs and chair of Sands’ DEI Council. “But, on the heels of the race-related events of this year, we knew it was time to do more.”
Following these efforts, the company’s DEI Council began developing a roadmap to study, plan and implement new actions to address today’s needs and viewpoints. With an overall commitment to removing barriers internally and externally, one of the key areas in the approach was assessing how the company could better make impact in addressing systemic racism in the community as a whole.
On November 19, Sands announced an additional $400,000 investment in community organizations working to empower minority and ethnically diverse groups through Sands Cares, the company’s community engagement and charitable giving program.
The company’s diversity community engagement strategy centers around removing systemic racism barriers through two focus areas:
- Education and mentoring to propel youth and promote workforce development
- Social justice advancement and advocacy
As part of this commitment, Sands Cares is contributing $250,000 to Nevada Partners for youth empowerment programs in the West Las Vegas Promise Neighborhood. The company also is contributing $100,000 to 100 Black Men of Las Vegas for youth mentoring programs and the organization’s COVID-19 Community Personal Protective Equipment program. The full slate of partnerships includes the following organizations:
- Nevada Partners: Since 1992, Nevada Partners has been at the forefront of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic issues that are barriers to building a healthy, thriving, sustainable and progressive community. Unfortunately, the citizens of the Historic Westside in Las Vegas suffer from the disproportionate impact of high unemployment, debilitating poverty, challenging illiteracy and frequent incarceration, just to name a few social ills plaguing the most vulnerable among us.
- 100 Black Men Las Vegas: The 100 Black Men of America was formed in 1963 by a group of prominent leaders, including Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame legend Jackie Robinson, to improve the quality of life and enhance the educational opportunities of African Americans in a unified, collaborative, pragmatic effort. There are over 103 chapters with over 10,000 combined members in several countries. Founding President Larry Mosley, Randall Bacon and several committed men formed the Las Vegas Chapter in 1999 to make a difference in the Las Vegas community. The 100 Black Men of Las Vegas, Inc. became a chartered member of the 100 Black Men of America in the year 2000.
- Urban Chamber of Commerce: As an organization that promotes economic development for local and global businesses, the Urban Chamber of Commerce provides a variety of programs for underserved populations, including programs that promote entrepreneurship and train people for employment opportunities.
- Hope for Prisoners: Hope for Prisoners assists with reentry by providing the formerly incarcerated with long-term support and services as they work to reclaim their lives, families and standing in the community.
- Mastering Mindsets Las Vegas: Mastering Mindsets Las Vegas is a 501C(3) non-profit grassroots organization comprised of law enforcement, military, professionals, entrepreneurs, community leaders, educators, and committed parents. Diverse in our professions and backgrounds, we are aligned in our desire to make a difference in the lives of the youth in our community.
- The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Las Vegas, Inc.: The mission of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. is to advocate on behalf of black women and girls to promote leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment.
- Las Vegas Urban League: The mission of the Las Vegas Urban League is to empower communities and ensure equal opportunity for low income citizens. It establishes programs and support policies that address social and economic issues faced by low income and minority residents of Clark County and its outlying areas.
“This year has marked a moment in time when people are choosing to show greater support for these long-standing and sometimes ignored issues,” said Kenadie Cobbin-Richardson, executive director of Nevada Partners. “We are grateful to Las Vegas Sands for its truly authentic commitment to moving the needle through this work. It is really powerful when the people behind the investments care, and that’s what we get from Sands.”