During yesterday’s appearance on The Wendy Willams Show, Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino headliner Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller, announced Caesars Foundation’s $250,000 gift to Opportunity Village, a nonprofit that serves people with intellectual disabilities (Pictured above: Penn Jillette with Thom Reilly, Executive Director of Caesars Foundation).
A portion of the gift was designated to purchase two new employee transit vehicles that will play a part in helping the more than 1,700 persons with disabilities in Southern Nevada. Each day, the 2012 Ford Transit 10-passenger van will transport custodial trainee employees to work sites around the valley including eight Veteran Administration centers. The Sparcraft All Star mini bus is being used for community outings and for use by Project Enable that transports individuals with complex disabilities (including severe autism) to volunteer sites like Three Square, the Las Vegas Mission and various city parks. In addition to the vehicles, funding will be used to help expand program and employment resource center space to accommodate the increasing number of people who need services.
“When I got pretend fired, my real bosses, the ones who really could fire me for real no-kidding, decided to give the full winning $250,000 to “my” charity,” said Penn Jillette. “I had a blast on the show and a lot of people learned about what a great organization Opportunity Village is. I have the best bosses in the world — thanks Rio (Caesars)!”
Since 2004, Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Foundation have supported Opportunity Village, gifting more than $1.5 million to help develop programming and facilities for individuals with disabilities. In addition to philanthropic gifts, Caesars’ Las Vegas resort casinos are the nonprofit’s largest paper-recycling client in Southern Nevada.
“Caesars is proud to support Opportunity Village in providing vocational training, employment and social recreation services to hundreds of Southern Nevadans each day,” said Thom Reilly, Executive Director of Caesars Foundation. “We applaud their many programs that provide much needed opportunities for people with disabilities to enrich our community.”
Since its inception, Caesars Foundation has given more than $58 million to organizations like Opportunity Village to create a greater quality of life for Caesars Entertainment employees, guests and operating communities. The Foundation’s charitable efforts are centered on helping older individuals live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives; promoting a safer, cleaner environment and improving the quality of life in Caesars’ operating communities.
About The Caesars Foundation
The Caesars Foundation is a private foundation funded by a percentage of operating income from Caesars Entertainment’s resorts. The Foundation is the entity through which Caesars Entertainment funds programs and projects of $10,000 or more, as well as not-for-profit giving requirements imposed by certain operating jurisdictions. The Foundation’s objective is to strengthen organizations and programs in the communities where our employees and their families live and work. For more information, please visit www.caesarsfoundation.com.
About Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village was founded in 1954 by seven families who were determined to give their disabled children the best lives possible. Fifty-Eight years later, Opportunity Village is one of the most recognized habilitation organizations in the country. It serves 1,700+ families daily and is Nevada’s largest employer of people with disabilities. Opportunity Village is primarily a self-funded organization and does not depend upon state and federal dollars. Rather, through its contracts and fundraising, it relies on its own resourcefulness. Opportunity Village is responsible for saving Nevada taxpayers $22 million every year and pays over $4 million in wages to people who are considered to be unemployable. In addition, Opportunity Village places many individuals into community jobs where, in 2011, they collectively earned wages amounting to more than $7.5 million.