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Caesars Corporate Citizenship Blog

Who Rocked it For Seniors Last Quarter?

We’ve shown seniors our appreciation each May for many years. This year, we wanted to extend the fun, so we stretched it out three months to create Senior Appreciation Quarter. During April, May and June, Caesars team members got together to celebrate seniors in our communities, inspire healthy aging and make seniors’ lives a little brighter.

Our team members are not only giving, they’re competitive! This year we competed to see who can show their care and appreciation for seniors in the most creative and fun ways.

Read on to learn about how our HERO volunteers showed seniors some love through evenings out, parties and more.

First Place: Atlantic City Locations

Throughout our Atlantic City locations, from Caesars Atlantic City to Bally’s Atlantic City to Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, HEROs held a whopping 40 events, touching the lives of seniors 1,610 times.

For many, the highlight was the Dinner & a Show series, featuring dinner at AC Burger Co. and seniors’ favorite local musical groups, such as The Motowners. Atlantic City locations partnered with a variety of senior centers, such as the Vineland Veterans Home, the ARC of Atlantic County and more.

HERO volunteers and the Caesars Foundation partnered with Villa Raffaella, an assisted living center, to add some sparkle to the center’s annual pageant. Volunteers brought flowers, sashes, trophies and prizes for pageant participants. As the grand prize winner for the 2017 Miss Villa Raffaella, Lori was awarded tickets to the Legends in Concert, including dinner at Martorano’s and a limo, for herself and 10 friends!

Second Place: Lake Tahoe Locations

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Harveys Lake Tahoe worked with the Carson City Senior Center to evaluate local needs. One HERO volunteered through AARP to share his skills in tax preparation, while another who plays the guitar serenaded seniors during one of the hosted luncheons.

The highlight was supporting the Music & Memory program, in which beloved music brings hope to seniors struggling with Alzheimer’s. Through Music & Memory, HEROs distributed iPods loaded with personalized music playlists to seniors; music has a proven ability to improve quality of life and memory.

Senior guests and younger guests alike responded to Lake Tahoe locations’ efforts – there was a six percent increase in guests over Senior Appreciation Quarter.

Third Place: Caesars Windsor

Caesars Windsor partners with a variety of local nonprofits, including Life After Fifty and the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, bartenders and other team members from the culinary department shared their hospitality at Life After Fifty’s social galas.

In honor of Senior Appreciation Quarter, the Caesars Windsor team also hosted a party at a local senior home, giving out concert tickets, playing cards and giving the ladies manicures.

Kudos to all team members who showed the seniors in their communities how much we care!

Ernestine’s HERO Star Celebration

Remember Ernestine Richards, one of this year’s top three HERO stars? This past week she received the all-star celebration she deserved.

Ernestine is a Casino Services Cashier at Horseshoe Tunica and a local staple at the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge in Memphis. The Lodge provides free accommodation, and a home-like atmosphere to cancer patients undergoing treatment. Ernestine regularly participates in game nights and dinners – chatting with residents, serving dinner and playing bingo – in fact, she has totaled 71 hours of volunteer time (and counting) and hasn’t missed an event since January.

The two-day HERO Star celebration event started with a celebratory dinner for Ernestine and five of her family members and coworkers. The dinner was attended by Caesars regional president Scott Barber, other local team mates and an American Cancer Society representative, all of whom expressed their appreciation for the great work Ernestine has accomplished in the local community. “We’re all here because of a connection to Caesars Entertainment’s HERO program, a shared commitment to our community, and this year’s companywide top volunteer and Tunica’s own Ernestine Richards,” shared Scott Barber in his opening remarks.

The following day was the main event, as 20 HERO volunteers from Horseshoe Tunica and Tunica Roadhouse came together to construct and dedicate an outdoor pergola at the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge. The pergola will stand as a semi-protected patio to provide the 240 Hope Lodge residents a space to enjoy the outdoors.  In addition, the lasting monument will serve to honor the relationship between the cancer patients and the local Caesars HEROs who have volunteered more than 2,500 hours at Harrah’s Hope Lodge over the past five years.

After the hard day’s work and to celebrate Ernestine’s giving, hardworking spirit, she received a 2-night stay in Horseshoe’s skyline suite and was treated to a 90-minute spa treatment at the Spa at Horseshoe. Finally, Ernestine was given $500 to donate to the nonprofit of her choice – unsurprisingly, she chose the Hope Lodge.

Many thanks to Ernestine and all our HEROs for helping Caesars live out our commitment to make our communities healthy and vibrant places to live and work.

HERO Stars: Felicia, Linda & Christina

Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Caesars Entertainment team members can often be found sharing our Caring Culture with the communities where they live and work. They volunteer their time, expertise, creativity and passion and we love to share their stories.

Each quarter, Caesars Entertainment celebrates our HERO Stars whose volunteer efforts go above and beyond. This quarter, we are proud to honor Felicia, Linda and Christina for making a difference.

Read on to learn more about our HERO Stars for the second quarter of 2017. They’ll each receive a $500 check to share with the nonprofit of their choice.

Felicia Elliot-Nakhla, Cocktail Server, PLANET HOLLYWOOD

Chosen Cause: childhood cancer

For more than 10 years, Felicia has been inspired by the story of Alex Scott, a victim of childhood cancer who started Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for kids suffering from cancer, one lemonade stand at a time. For years, Felicia donated money, but in 2013, her niece suggested she make even more of an impact.

Inspired, Felicia started a city-wide carnival for kids with games, balloons, bouncy houses and, of course, lemonade. Last year, Felicia got her location, Planet Hollywood, involved as well as Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. HEROs from these locations hosted lemonade stands for their fellow team members, raising $5,000 in six days.

 

Today, Felicia has raised more than $11,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stands to support children in the Las Vegas Valley and throughout the U.S. Because of her hard work, the Las Vegas chapter of Alex’s Lemonade Stands is one of the largest in the western U.S.

Linda Sitton, Staff Accountant, HARRAH’S CHEROKEE

Chosen Cause: childhood hunger

According to the nonprofit organization Share our Strength, 13 million American children suffer from hunger. Linda at Harrah’s Cherokee was saddened by this, so she started Lunchbox Heroes with her fellow team members. With one school lunch costing $2.60, Linda and her team were determined to provide lunches for children who are disadvantaged but still don’t qualify for free or reduced lunches. Lunchbox Heroes works with six counties to donate money needed to provide lunches for students throughout the region.

In its first full year of operation, Lunchbox Heroes has raised more than $16,000. Linda’s team has been instrumental in encouraging payroll deductions, which will raise more than $26,000 over the next year to support childhood hunger.

Christina Esmay Caldwell, Executive Adminstrative Assistant, HARRAH’S CHEROKEE

Chosen Cause: helping wherever she’s most needed

You could call Christina a volunteer of all trades. In the second quarter alone, Christina volunteered 47 hours to support park cleanups, sexual assault prevention, hunger, literacy, the Salvation Army, the arts and child abuse prevention.

A caring person to everyone around her, Christina especially supports causes that offer some needed help to her fellow team members. The Children’s Christmas Fund provides gifts to families facing hardship during the holidays, while the CARE fund gives team members facing unexpected financial needs an extra boost. She is particularly supportive of veterans, having organized a Harrah’s Cherokee recognition program for veteran team members and guests alike.

Christina also serves as co-chair of Harrah’s Cherokee’s employee engagement committee and serving on the location’s HERO board. She organized six HERO events last April alone.

Thanks to these three HERO Stars for their leadership in making their communities better!

Our People Planet Play Accomplishments

Have you heard of People Planet Play? It’s our new name for our longstanding commitment to our team members, our communities, environmental excellence and Responsible Gaming. This week, we launched our People Planet Play report on all that we accomplished in 2016 (with some select stories from 2017, too). Please check out our highlights below and let us know what you think.

People Planet Play: A New Name for our Longstanding Commitment

People, Planet, Play is Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to our communities, environmental excellence and Responsible Gaming. It also closely aligns with our mission to inspire grownups to have fun. It’s a new expression for how we connect our Code of Commitment, Citizenship programs and internal brands like CodeGreen together, creating a consistent and recognizable approach for our team members, stakeholders and guests. It also supports some specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that Caesars is working towards. While People, Planet, Play is new, our commitments are longstanding and strong – in fact, we were recently recognized by Civic 50 as one of the most community-minded companies in the nation.

So what’s it all about? Keep reading to learn how familiar Caesars Entertainment initiatives fit into People, Planet, Play.

People: Supporting the wellbeing of our employees, guests and local communities.

Harrah’s New Orleans HERO Chair, Laurie Porter, with Martin, a Second Wind Dreams participant.

Caesars Entertainment and our properties around the country and the world are successful because of our team members. Our value of Caring Culture means we place great importance on the health and wellbeing of our employees. We go beyond traditional benefits programs to provide the best options to ensure that team members maintain a happy, healthy lifestyle through programs like Wellness Rewards. Diversity and safety are also top priorities.

In a similar vein, our Caring Culture means that we take an active role to improve lives in our communities. Team members volunteer through our HERO program, and our Foundation supports nonprofits in local communities and beyond with grants.

 

Planet: Caring for our environment to preserve the quality of life on Earth.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin’s winning CodeGreen Cocktail

Caesars team members were the early drivers of environmental sustainability at Caesars, leading to the creation of CodeGreen, which focuses on minimizing core environmental impacts. Our CodeGreen Challenge celebrates these efforts each year. We also work beyond the four walls of our gaming-entertainment properties – learn more about how we work with our supply chain to understand climate impacts.

One of the best benefits of our Planet initiatives is that we’re taking care of environmental sustainability behind the scenes so our guests can relax and have fun!

 

 

Play: Creating memorable experiences for our guests and leading Responsible Gaming practices in the industry.

Our mission is inspiring grown-ups to play, and the Play pillar of People Planet Play is all about memorable experiences. Our award-winning Total Rewards program rewards guests for their loyalty. Through our Responsible Meetings and Events Certification, the Caesars Meetings team integrates environmental practices into event design and management. Additionally, our Meetings for Good offering helps clients contribute to society at our meeting venue locations through partnerships with local nonprofits.

Sustainability is integrated into all meetings and events held at Caesars Entertainment locations.

Caesars was the first in our industry to develop Responsible Gaming guidelines more than 25 years ago, and it remains a top priority. Our program comprises research, innovative technology and practical tools and comprehensive training for all staff.

So that’s People, Planet, Play – why and how we take care of our guests, team members, communities and environment. Our CEO, Mark Frissora, introduced People, Planet, Play at a Town Hall in May – and he also shared this video.  You’ll hear more about it in August when we launch our next Citizenship Report, which will detail everything we’ve accomplished last year in the areas of People, Planet, Play. Stay tuned!

Supporting Londoners Facing Homelessness

Did you know that Caesars Entertainment has locations around the world, including the U.K, Egypt and South Africa? They’re managed by our Caesars Entertainment Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business, which is based in London.

Like every city, London has a population of people that faces homelessness on a daily basis. St-Martin-in-the-Field—an Anglican church known around the world for its music and by Londoners for its charitable work—is doing something about this challenge through its nonprofit, The Connection.

Located in the West End neighborhood of the city’s Westminster borough, The Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Field helps approximately 200 homeless Londoners each day, ages 16-60. Through progressive programs including street outreach, a day center and an overnight center, The Connection offers services including health care, nutritious meals and bathing facilities. It also provides transition into education, housing and employment and assistance with drug, alcohol and gambling addiction. The Connection is especially focused on helping people find permanent housing.

Caesars Entertainment EMEA has a longstanding commitment to Responsible Gaming, including work on the National Casino Forum’s UK-wide SENSE self-inclusion program. Thus, we were eager to support The Connection’s worthy mission of providing support for gambling addiction among 4,000 of its clients. The Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square had been providing financial contributions to The Connection for several years, and we wanted to see what else could be done.

Each week, The Connection hosts an addiction therapist from the National Problem Gambling Clinic, who provides group meetings and individual counseling for about 25 individuals. Our annual donation funds this program in its entirety.

Through the program, clients say they learned about the roots of their addiction as well as better decision-making skills. This is especially valuable, because the presence of many small “betting shops” in the West End area near St-Martin-in-the-Fields have clients of The Connection especially tested by their environment. It is our hope that our continued support of the program will prove valuable to The Connection’s clients and the entire West End community.

You Need Wheels to Deliver Meals

Meals on Wheels America is a household name —people know that the organization helps seniors access healthy meals without having to leave their homes. Ten million seniors nationwide struggle with hunger, so Meals on Wheels has a big (and important!) job to do. In fact, it’s the oldest and largest national organization supporting community-based programs dedicated to ending senior hunger.

For these reasons, Caesars Foundation has supported Meals on Wheels America since 2002, donating 60 meal delivery vehicles in 18 states – more than any other company. Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. In Memphis, not far from our Horseshoe Tunica and Tunica Roadhouse, Caesars Foundation just donated its 60th vehicle to the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA). This will help MIFA in its work to serve 12,876 meals each month to local seniors.

Caesars Foundation’s 60th vehicle donation to Meals on Wheels America. From left to right: R. Scott Barber, Horseshoe Tunica, Tunica Roadhouse; Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell; Ellie Hollander, Meals on Wheels; Thom Reilly, Caesars Foundation; Sally Heinz, MIFA.

In the words of Sally Jones Heinz, President and CEO of MIFA, “The addition of the vehicle will allow us to consolidate deliveries and utilize volunteers in other areas to be able to expand our services and serve more individuals across all of our missions as efficiently as possible.” Providing a meal is a worthwhile contribution on its own, but it also appears to be a health tool. Research conducted by Brown University found that those receiving Meals on Wheels’ home-delivered meals had lower anxiety, isolation, hospitalizations and falls compared to a control group that did not receive meals. The ongoing visits from friendly meal delivery volunteers are a bright spot in seniors’ days – and provide a needed safety check. For many seniors, Meals on Wheels enables them to “age in place” in their own homes, rather than be hospitalized or relocate to a long-term care facility.

Caesars Foundation’s donation to MIFA through Meals on Wheels is part of our annual Senior Appreciation Quarter (May-July). Maybe you’ve read about how we work with Second Wind Dreams to “grant” seniors’ dreams or with Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to support healthy brains. It’s all part of Senior Appreciation Quarter and Caesars Foundation’s dedication to helping older individuals live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. Learn more about Caesars Foundation’s efforts to support seniors, and much more, here.

Congratulations to this year’s HERO Stars Grand Prize Winners!

Each year, our HERO Stars Grand Prize celebrates Caesars Entertainment’s top three HERO Star volunteers. Past winners were awarded trips to Baltimore and Atlantic City to lead largescale volunteer activities, but this year we’re keeping festivities local so winners can celebrate with their coworkers, family and friends. As a bonus, winners get to lead a local volunteer activity with support from the Caesars Entertainment corporate team.

We’re excited to announce 2017’s top HERO Stars: Earnestine Richard, Dianna Lerma and Harrah’s Resort Southern California’s dynamic duo, Bryon Nuttall and Jerrod Phillips!

Ernestine Richards, Casino Services Cashier, HORSESHOE TUNICA

Over the past year, Ernestine has shown incredible dedication to the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge in Memphis, which provides free lodging and a warm, home-like atmosphere to cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Ernestine participates in regular Game Nights and Dinner Nights at the Hope Lodge, chatting with residents, serving dinner and playing bingo. The Hope Lodge’s manager greatly appreciates Ernestine’s kind dedication, saying that residents ask for her by name, hoping she’ll be joining them for dinner or bingo. Ernestine certainly is committed, having not missed a Game Night or Dinner Night since last January. In total, she’s volunteered a total of 71 hours, serving as a friendly presence to 240 cancer patients at a difficult time in their lives.

 

Dianna Lerma, Table Games Supervisor, HARRAH’S JOLIET CASINO

 

Dianna is known by guests and colleagues alike as the face of the Joliet Relay for Life, for which the community of Joliet rallies to support local agencies that provide care to people facing cancer. Dianna is proud to lead her colleagues in supporting cancer survivors, including financial support for treatment, wigs, rides and assistance for caregivers. Involved with the organization for more than five years, Dianna raised a whopping $12,500 in 2016 alone. Dianna also supports other community needs, including local Vietnam Veterans organizations and leukemia and lymphoma awareness.

 

 

 

Bryon Nuttall, Planning and Analysis Manager & Jerrod Phillips, Business & Process Improvement Manager, 

For the second year in a row, Jerrod and Bryon led the charge for a local Soup and Beans Drive, helping Harrah’s Resort Southern California regain the top spot in the citywide competition. Between them, they brought in more than 600 cans of soup and beans, doing more than their share to ensure that 900 seniors in San Diego County would not go hungry. Jerrod also helped to pack thousands of cans for distribution.

Both Jerrod and Bryon have taken part in a number of volunteer activities over the past year, including our HERO Blood Drives, the Bowling for Equality event benefiting the Human Rights Campaign and our Giving Tuesday activities, such as the Oceanside Beach Clean-Up.

We’re One of the Nation’s Most Community-Minded Companies

Pop the champagne! Caesars Entertainment has been named to the The Civic 50as the leading company in the consumer discretionary sector, which includes non-essentials like apparel, cars, travel and, of course, gaming and entertainment. An initiative of Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to helping companies build volunteer programs, The Civic 50 honors the 50 most community-minded companies.

The Civic 50 award recipients were selected based on four components: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact. Here’s what the components mean – and how our programs achieve results in these areas:

  • Investment: How companies apply resources like employee volunteering and donations to community engagement
    • Example: the Caesars Foundation has donated more than $72 million to local nonprofits that help older individuals, promote a more sustainable world and improve quality of life based on local community needs
  • Integration: How companies integrate their U.S. community engagement programs into key business functions
    • Example: Meetings for Good, which allows customers to incorporate community service into their events by connecting them to our nonprofit partners
    • Bonus Example: award-winning CodeGreen environmental program that focuses on the dramatic reduction of waste, water and carbon emissions
  • Institutionalization: How companies support community engagement through policies, systems and incentives
    • Example: our commitment to diversity. As of 2016, 42% of managers are women, and 34% of managers are minorities
  • Impact: How companies measure the social and business impact of their community engagement program
    • Example: HERO volunteer program, through which team members have reported more than 400,000 volunteer hours each year

Carolyn Wheeler, Director of Internal Communication & Employee Community Involvement Chair, and Margaret George, Corporate Responsibility Manager, accepting Community-Minded award from Neil Bush, Points of Light Chair.

Guests are part of communities, too, and they’re very important to us! That’s why we pioneered the casino entertainment industry’s first responsible gaming effort. Caesars works with the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc., and provided the initial funding to establish the Council’s 24-hour toll free helpline. All Caesars’ properties also have Responsible Gaming Ambassadors who promote Responsible Gaming to guests and offer assistance to those that may not be gambling responsibly.

For these efforts and more, Caesars is in the top 10% of The Civic 50 list. We are humbled by the dedication of our team members – from HERO Chairs to CodeGreen enthusiasts to corporate and Foundation staff – that make this achievement possible.

Three Ways to be an LGBTQ-Friendly Company

Here at Caesars Entertainment, diversity and our caring culture are integral parts of our core values. What better time to celebrate those values than Pride Month?

For the past ten years, Caesars has received a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for our dedication to treating employees and guests equally. While we’re always learning new ways to support diversity and inclusion, here are a few suggestions on how companies can create a friendly and open workplace for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

Show You Care

There are many different ways to show LGBTQ employees – and LGBTQ customers – you care. For example, we have a dedicated business resource group for LGBTQ employees and ally team members, EQUAL. The first of its kind in the gaming and entertainment industry, EQUAL provides professional networking and volunteer opportunities for its members and helps to foster and promote equality internally and externally for Caesars.

Benefits are another important way for companies to recognize families of all types. Healthcare is important, but there are other benefits that are appreciated, too. We are proud to offer benefits like Family and Medical Leave, bereavement leave and company discounts to domestic partners, same-sex spouses and opposite-sex spouses alike.

We also recognize the value that LGBTQ employees offer our company, so we make an effort to recruit LGBTQ candidates for jobs through career fairs at The Center, which serves LGBTQ community members throughout Southern Nevada.

Finally, companies can support local, state and federal policies that benefit their LGBTQ employees. As an example, we have long been public supporters of policies and advocacy around relationship recognition and anti-discrimination on state and federal levels.

Align the Business

A commitment to equality should be present throughout all aspects of a business for it to be truly meaningful. That’s why we work to not only care for our LGBTQ employees, but to support the entire LGBTQ community with our business practices.

Over the years, we have developed our nightclub scene, advertising and destination events to cater to LGBTQ guests and tourists. We also support Pride events around the country each June. Since Vegas is a great place to get married, we ensure our LGBTQ guests have wedding and honeymoon packages especially tailored for them. To ensure our marketing campaigns for LGBTQ guests are always authentic, EQUAL helps us brainstorm ideas.

We also support the LGBTQ community through our supplier diversity commitment of

economic inclusion. We track our spending with LGBTQ-owned suppliers just like we track spending with women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses.

Use Proper Pronouns

Gender identity and expression are important concepts, so we provide ongoing training to leadership and team members specifically related to LGBTQ issues. This helps us work to ensure that all guests feel comfortable visiting Caesars locations.

One question that comes up a lot is related to gender identity: an individual’s internal sense of being male, female, both or neither. It’s important to remember that this may or may not be visible to others through expression. Expression is how a person represents their gender identity through following typical behavior, clothing or body characteristics related to a specific gender.

Transgender people are those who identify as a different gender from which they were born. They may inform you of which pronoun (she/her, he/his, they/their – or something else entirely) they prefer. In the absence of knowing for sure, and where asking could create some awkwardness, we find using names to often work just fine.

We hope the above ideas have given you some food for thought as you think about how to make your company or workplace a more LGBTQ friendly environment.