Each year, Caesars Entertainment partners with the community to both celebrate and honor the legacy of the civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recognizing the progress that Dr. King achieved for African Americans and all people of color.
Dance troupe West Las Vegas World Class Dance Ensemble performs traditional dance to the beat of live drums.
Hosted at Caesars Palace, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet is a chance for the Las Vegas African American community to honor Dr. King while discussing the challenges African Americans face today. Speakers recalled Dr. King’s leadership not only in the U.S., but as an inspiration to other nonviolent protesters around the world, from Ireland to India. It was also a chance to think about how to apply Dr. King’s legacy to our everyday lives.
“When we get on a plane, or train, or even go to the restroom – we are benefiting from Dr. King’s powerful accomplishments. By law, here in the United States in the middle of the 20th century, you could be told based on your color, or your religion, or because you were a woman, that you couldn’t apply for a job or go to a certain school. These luxuries that we take for granted are protected by law – the Civil Rights Act – that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for,” says Regina Ford, Caesars Entertainment Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion. Ford oversees diversity initiatives across our entire enterprise as well as community relations with diversity organizations.
Hosted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas and emceed by Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly – the first sitting African American Chair for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority Board of Directors – the banquet gathers local dignitaries, from the head of the Las Vegas School Board to the first Latina in the U.S. Senate, Caroline Cortez Masto of Nevada. Additional entertainment was provided by a performance by an African drumming and dance troupe from the West Las Vegas World Class Dance Ensemble.
The Banquet is a fundraiser to support disadvantaged black students attending college through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee of Las Vegas scholarship fund. In 2017, the banquet raised more than $10,000.
One of the largest Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parades west of the Mississippi, the parade celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. With Denise Williams leading as the Grand Marshal, the parade featured themed floats celebrating phases of Dr. King’s life and the power of the civil rights movement.
“We had nice weather this year, so a lot of people attended. Beyond attendance, though, the parade really sets the tone for the Southern Nevada community for the rest of the year, inspiring us to live out Dr. King’s legacy in our own lives each day,” says Ford.
Living Our Values
Caesars Entertainment aspires to foster an inclusive workplace and culture every day. In 2015, 34 percent of managers in the U.S. were people of color and 52 percent of team members were people of color. We also support businesses owned by women and people of color, encouraging them to become suppliers for Caesars. It is our hope that through ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts, we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. not only every January, but every day of the year.
When our team members aren’t busy creating memorable experiences for their guests, they can often be found helping out in our communities and sharing our Caring Culture. They volunteer their time, expertise, creativity and passion to help make their communities the best places to live and work. From projects that support everything from health and wellness to seniors, there’s something for everyone who wants to lend a hand.
Each quarter, Caesars Entertainment celebrates our HERO Stars and recognized team members from our affiliated businesses whose volunteer efforts really stand out. This quarter we are proud to honor four outstanding HEROs who gave their time and their efforts to make a difference.
Read on to learn about our HERO Stars for the fourth quarter of last year. They’ll each receive a $500 check to share with the nonprofit of their choice.
Jack volunteers for a long list of causes, including hunger, health and supporting veterans. He contributed a total of 101 hours of time with his community in 2016.
While many team members participate in our HERO events, Jack also seeks ways to volunteer on his own. As a runner, Jack participates in a run, walk or marathon almost every month – in 2016, he did 10! – supporting a variety of causes. Another monthly do-good habit of Jack’s is delivering coffee, cookies and conversation to veterans at Memphis’ VA Hospital. Recognizing the dire need for blood donations, Jack works with a variety of organizations to meet that need, including March of Dimes, Gateway to the Delta, Memphis Recovery Center and more.
Charlean’s role as casino operations manager means she is skilled at motivating team members. She also leveraged this skill to mobilize more than 300 team members to participate in HERO events in 2016.
Charlean is especially passionate about health and wellness, having organized events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Relay for Life, Alzheimer’s Walks, and more. She also helped host the Bossier Council on Aging’s annual Sweetheart Luncheon, celebrating Valentine’s Day with local seniors. A longstanding tradition, the luncheon draws both singles and couples for a formal lunch and a dance.
Charlean’s colleague Preston Langley says it best: “Charlean is the key to our volunteer events here at Horseshoe Bossier City and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. She is, in my opinion, the epitome of a HERO Star.”
After the loss of a friend, Eunice was looking for a way to honor her memory by taking action in the fight against breast cancer.
Together with her supervisor, Eunice rallied the housekeeping department to support the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Ocean City. She convinced a whopping 75% of her team members to purchase a pink HERO shirt, raising $2,500 for the organization. Eunice also drove participation in the Making Strides Walk and spent many hours in the kitchen baking, both of which raised additional funds to fight breast cancer.
Nikki Jackson leads Atlantic City community relations and saw Eunice’s efforts firsthand. “Eunice overcame language barriers to connect with new colleagues and truly extended herself for the breast cancer cause, making a lovely tribute to her friend,” notes Nikki.
Jason’s above-and-beyond dedication to Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Paris Las Vegas engaged team members across the city to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. In particular, his leadership of the Battle of the Bras event at Planet Hollywood led to an impressive 33% increase of leaders modeling and a 150% increase in event attendance. But even more exciting was the $90,000 raised at the event – nearly five times the amount of last year’s Battle!
Jason’s ability to fuel healthy competition among Battle of the Bras participants was evidenced by record leadership participation. And he helped to tie the event’s mission and purpose with our Caring Culture by having the participants their personal story of how breast cancer has affected them to make the evening especially meaningful.
Thanks to our HERO Stars for being amazing ambassadors or our Mission, Vision and Values in our communities. You truly Inspire Grown-Ups to Play for a Cause!
Each October, Caesars team members across the U.S. rally their colleagues to raise funds and awareness supporting breast cancer. From the well-loved Battle of the Bras and pink blackjack table felts to health screenings and donation drives, everyone finds a way to get involved.
Some locations take it to the next level, showing tons of enthusiasm and dedication to the cause with a wide variety of educational and fun initiatives. To recognize their efforts, we hold a contest each year.
Here are this year’s winners, with just a few examples of their many creative initiatives. Together, the three winners earned a combined $25,000 donation from the Caesars Foundation to their local American Cancer Society chapters!
Harrah’s Ak-Chin won first place in our contest for the second year in a row! Supporting those suffering from breast cancer is a key part of their efforts. Harrah’s Ak-Chin partnered with the Ironwood Cancer and Research Center to donate comforting items to women undergoing chemotherapy at its facility. Team members gathered blankets, mints, puzzle books and more, delivering 32 bags to patients at Ironwood. The team found time for fun, too, by surprising guests with a pink flash mob right on the casino floor and decorating office doors with creative breast cancer awareness themes.
We know that guests appreciate our support of breast cancer awareness, and we like getting them involved. Our Atlantic City locations hosted a variety of fun events benefiting the American Cancer Society (ACS), from a benefit concert to a raffle with all proceeds benefiting ACS. Atlantic City locations also hosted free on-site mammograms for guests and team members to support breast cancer prevention.
Education is an integral piece of breast cancer awareness. In addition to fundraising, our Tunica locations were especially focused on the link between healthy lifestyles and cancer prevention. They kicked off the month with a morning walk from Tunica Roadhouse to Horseshoe Tunica, ending with free healthy refreshments and education about how daily exercise like walking aids in cancer prevention. Tunica locations hosted a total of ten educational workshops for guests and team members, including talks on detection and prevention from the American Cancer Society. In addition, throughout 2016, the two locations have raised $95,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Caesars locations enterprise-wide compete for the money by decorating bras for the team member fashion show Battle of the Bras, yielding some truly beautiful (and bizarre) creations. At Battle of the Bras, Caesars’ Northwest Louisiana properties ignited the audience to raise more than $6,000 for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society from generous guest and team member donations to add to a total $20,000donation to the organization.
It’s the enthusiastic participation of our locations nationwide that have helped us contribute almost $4 million to cancer-related organizations to date. We support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk, and more. Thanks to all Caesars guests and team members who participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Caesars
At Caesars, we appreciate and honor the ongoing sacrifices made by active service members and veterans. Since 2013, Caesars has hired more than 2,000 veterans through our Hiring Heroes program. We’ve received 3,126 applications from veterans in 2016 alone.
We’ve also donated $1 million to veteran organizations and our HEROs have put in more than 4,000 hours aiding community veteran groups.
Harrah’s New Orleans veterans at yesterday’s flag raising ceremony.
Our locations throughout the U.S. host a variety of fun (and serious) events to make Veterans Day special for all. Read on to learn more:
Honoring Team Members Who Have Served
Caesars gives all our locations the option to share a corporate letter thanking veteran team members.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana is one of many gaming locations that opted in, purchasing a special commemorative coin to distribute to veterans and service members.
Horseshoe Southern Indiana active service member Norbert Bostock displays his commemorative coin and recognition letter.
Harrah’s New Orleans honored veteran team members yesterday with a property-wide team celebration, culminating in a flag raising at noon.
Celebrating Veterans Who Have Served
Many of our locations are inspiring veterans to play, providing discounts at restaurants like Horseshoe Southern Indiana’s Smoke and Rye and Harrah’s New Orleans’ Besh Steak. Our Tunica and Harrah’s New Orleans properties are honoring veteran guests with a complimentary meal in the buffets all day long, while Bally’s Atlantic City is hosting a luncheon for New Jersey Gold Star Mothers.
Groceries bags ready to be distributed as part of the Tunica locations’ food and clothing drive.
Supporting Veterans Who Have Served
While it’s important to honor and celebrate veterans, we also believe in serving those who have served, especially if they’re facing hardships.
As part of our HERO volunteer program, Horseshoe Southern Indiana is conducting a food and clothing drive to support the local VA hospital, as are the Tunica locations. Tunica in particular has set a goal to collect enough socks and tee shirts for 500 veterans at the Memphis VA Hospital.
Marine Corps service members get together with Harrah’s and Bally’s Atlantic City team members to make Toys for Tots donations.
Last weekend, Bally’s and Caesars Atlantic Cityculinary team members hosted an annual brunch for disabled veterans at the Vineland Veterans’ Home, featuring food donated from Caesars properties. In addition, Atlantic City locations are kicking off the holiday season early via their Toys for Tots partnership with the Marine Corps, hosting 30 organizers at Bally’s Atlantic City.
Tunica locations are also getting ready for the holidays by gathering on Veterans Day to write holiday greeting cards for distribution to the Millington, Tenn., Naval, Army and Army Reserve Base.
On this Veterans Day, Caesars thanks all veterans for their service, especially our team members and guests!
At Caesars, we inspire grown-ups to play. We also work hard to be good stewards of our planet’s resources through our CodeGreen strategy. While many of our efforts are behind the scenes, the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program helps guests understand how our progress measures up across the hospitality industry.
Recently recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Green Key is a rigorous program that ranks, certifies and inspects hotels and resorts based on their commitment to sustainable operations. Green Key uses a rating system of 1 to 5 Keys, with 5 being the highest possible attainment.
Every other year, CodeGreen Leaders at our properties lead their teams in completing Green Key’s comprehensive self-assessment to evaluate environmental practices across departments of their hotel, including food and beverage, housekeeping, meeting facilities, engineering and corporate environmental management. Within these five areas, CodeGreen teams examine policy and practices for energy and water conservation, solid and hazardous waste management, building infrastructure, community outreach and other sustainable practices. Green Key also conducts a random onsite verification audit of 20 percent of participating hotels each year, ensuring the accuracy of the scored self-assessment.
We’ve had all of Caesars-owned hotel locations participate in Green Key since 2013. In 2016, we also surpassed our company goal of getting 90 percent of hotel properties to the 4 Key level.
This year, 97 percent of our owned or managed North American hotel resort locations achieved a 4 Key rating or higher, and 100 percent of locations achieved Green Key certification. We’re especially proud of this achievement because it means we have 30 Green Key Eco-Rated hotels – more than any casino-entertainment company in the world!
Four properties – Harrah’s Las Vegas, Harrah’s Council Bluffs, Horseshoe Southern Indiana and Flamingo Hotel and Casino Las Vegas – improved their Green Key Eco-Rating from 3 to 4 Keys this year to help the company achieve a 97 percent 4 Key Eco-Rating across our 30 hotel-resort properties. What’s more, Green Key has granted Horseshoe Tunica 5 Keys, the highest rating possible, granted to just 3 percent of participating hotels. To achieve this, Horseshoe Tunica has made improvements such as installing high efficiency windows, using sensors to avoid overwatering landscaping and switching to more efficient lighting.
Interested in staying at a Green Key Eco-Rated hotel or learning more about traveling sustainably? Check out Green Key’s hotel map and green travel tips here.
As with all our successes, it’s our passionate team members who have made this achievement happen. Their work on CodeGreen initiatives and the Green Key self-assessment are what help us meet our goal each year.
Our team members volunteer their time, creativity and passion to improve the communities where we live and work. Their efforts support strategic priorities for team member involvement in the community: two-thirds of all programs support seniors, education, environment and health and wellness, while one-third supports causes important to their specific location.
Each quarter, we celebrate HERO Stars: three employees who go the extra mile to truly make a difference! Read on to learn about our HERO Stars for the third quarter of 2016. They’ll each receive a $500 check to share with the nonprofit of their choice.
In the beginning of 2016, Crystal set a goal to volunteer 100 hours this year. Thanks to her dedication, including spending time volunteering almost every weekend, Crystal beat her goal in August!
Crystal lends her time to support a variety of local needs, including education, health and wellness, and seniors. She shares her passion for sports by serving as a youth bowling coach and assisting at USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics meets. She leads fellow HEROs in initiatives such as fundraising for breast cancer services at the Nevada Dragon Boat Festival and collecting pet food to help seniors care for their cats and dogs. Finally, Crystal is trained as a Smart HERO, helping our guests complete online brain health check-ups at HealthyBrains.org, which is funded by Caesars in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Crystal’s colleagues say she is inspiring and encouraging to her community and fellow team members alike.
Crystal put the $500 donation towards her Making Strides fundraising account to benefit American Cancer Society during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Over the past year, Ernestine has shown incredible dedication to the American Cancer Society Harrah’s Hope Lodge, 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 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.
Andrea and three friends decided to make a difference to help the homeless in their community. They launched an effort called Paper Bag Angels, with a mission of easing the needs of the homeless. Once a month, Andrea and her friends hand out 400 bagged lunches to people struggling with homelessness, serving up sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
Paper Bag Angels also collections socks, blankets and pillows, and Andrea has rallied other team members to help. For example, the housekeeping department donated 20 blankets, while team members in the security department held a sock drive. Still other team members donate paper bags, food and money to support Andrea’s ambitious project.
Andrea volunteered 120 hours so far this year, distributing more than 3,200 bag lunches. Her next goal is to increase distribution to 500 lunches each month. To meet this goal and continue supporting local homeless people, Andrea is growing her team of volunteers and plans to register Paper Bag Angels as a nonprofit.
Andrea put her $500 towards purchasing 100 Clean the World hygiene kits, which contain important hygienic products, for the homeless she serves in the community.
Caesars salutes our HERO Stars for their passion and dedication to supporting our local communities – they’re an inspiration to all!
Like all hotels and casinos, our properties impact the environment, from things like lighting our slot machines to guests using water in our hotel rooms. CodeGreen is our solution.
We often write about CodeGreen here on the blog, but in case you need a refresher: CodeGreen is Caesars’ environmental strategy to reduce our impact in the areas of energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste and construction. It’s how we answer the call to cut back our overall resource usage, and take aggressive and proactive measures to preserve our environment for future generations.
Reducing both our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are a large part of our climate strategy. We’ve made good progress, having reduced energy use by 23.4% per air-conditioned square foot and by 9% in absolute energy use since 2007. We’ve also reduced our GHG emissions by 28.3% per air-conditioned square foot since 2007. By 2025, we aim to reduce GHGs by 40% per air-conditioned square foot over 2007 levels, and we have the same target for energy use.
Water use is also important, given that many of our operations are next to waterways or in the Southwest. In addition to setting aggressive targets, we disclose our impacts to the CDP in its Water Survey and are the only gaming/entertainment company to do so.
For our climate efforts, we were awarded a spot on the CDPA List , which the CDP announced today! Just 9% of the corporations participating in CDP’s climate change program are awarded a position on the Climate A List.
Beyond our Walls
Though we’re proud of CDP’s recognition for our progress in reducing energy use and GHG emissions, we want to go further in doing our part to reduce climate impact. In the past several years, companies have increasingly been called upon to share not only the impacts they create directly, but the climate impacts that occur in their supply chains.
For example, that fresh, tasty salad you got at Guy Fieri’s earlier today? Those vegetables were grown on farms and transported to Caesars in trucks that use fuel and thus create GHG emissions. The linens in our hotels’ comfy beds? They’re made from fabrics that were once raw materials like cotton, also grown on a farm, and later manufactured into linens. Farming and manufacturing have a number of impacts on the environment, from water use to GHG emissions, which are connected to climate change.
So Caesars has Climate Impacts Beyond its Properties. What’s Next?
Understanding the specific climate impacts of our supply chain is really the first step in beginning to manage them. The second step is prioritizing impacts so we can tackle the biggest ones first. To do this, we estimated the entire carbon footprint of our total supply chain spend and compared carbon footprints of different areas, like food and linens. From there, we are working on how to reduce climate impacts in priority supply chain areas.
Working with Suppliers
Our strong relationships with suppliers enable us to collaborate with them to understand our shared climate impacts. We work with multiple third party nonprofits, including CDP, whose supply chain program helps us work with suppliers to help measure and manage climate impacts.
As part of the program, Caesars asked key suppliers representing the largest portion of our supply chain’s carbon footprint to privately respond to CDP’s survey about their climate impacts. We received 54 complete supplier responses to CDP this year. Of these, 71% of our suppliers responding to CDP’s survey said Caesars was their first (and only) customer to ask them to fill out the CDP survey. We are proud to be helping them move the needle on understanding their own climate impacts while helping us to understand our supply chain’s footprint.
What’s more, Caesars is leading the way in hospitality as the only gaming/entertainment company represented in the CDP supply chain program of more than 75 member companies. We look forward to the industry building more robust climate metrics in their supply chain working with nonprofits like CDP.
Still, transparency is only the first step, and we are continuing to work collectively with our top suppliers to reduce our collective climate impacts, mitigate water use and increase efficiency. This means our guests will be able to enjoy slot machines, fresh salads and comfy beds long into the future.
The Clean the World hygiene kits are ready to be distributed to people at local domestic violence shelters partnered with Caesars’ locations Horseshoe Hammond and Harrah’s Joliet. The 1,500 youth and adult hygiene kits are to be split evenly among three organizations: St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home, Haven House and Guardian Angel Community Services. The kits are made possible by a grant from the Caesars Foundation.
Genie Hattie from Planet Hollywood demonstrating how to properly wash hands for 20 seconds to the Carmelite Home kids and Sisters.
The St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home in East Chicago, Indiana is open to children in crisis from birth to age 18. The home currently houses nearly a hundred individuals who receive beds, meals and a motivational structure that ensures schooling is completed. Children filled the auditorium and played along as CTW’s Super Soap and Super Water fought off “evil germs,” eagerly answering trivia questions about hygiene. The children and their mothers expressed heartfelt appreciation upon receiving their hygiene kits.
Amanda Lagunas from Rio Las Vegas and Kevin Williams with Clean the Wold handing out hygiene kits at the Haven House
Haven House, Inc., located in Hammond, Indiana, is a 24-hour emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors and their dependents. The home continuously operates at full capacity so that women and children have a safe place to live and receive counseling while working towards a happier and healthier life. Horseshoe Hammond has worked with Haven House recently, sending its HERO team to create a playground in Haven House’s yard and install new carpet and counter tops.
The Guardian Angel Community Services serves children and families, empowering them to improve the quality of their lives. The President of Guardian Angel, Ines Kutlesa, met the group at Harrah’s Joliet to share how the hygiene kits will be put to use and how working together will benefit Guardian Angel’s clients. The group learned about Harrah’s Joliet’s partnership with this worthy organization that benefits women, children and elderly who have suffered from abuse by providing safe housing, necessary counseling and much more.
Team Member Perspectives
The group sang a hand washing song for 20 seconds to teach the children how to properly wash their hands.
“It’s easy to just focus on what’s in front of you at work,” shared Genie from Planet Hollywood. “This experience is changing my outlook. It’s shifting focus to the bigger picture of the impact made by collecting soap at our properties.”
Jason adds that he’s going to take a hygiene kit back to Harrah’s Metropolis to show the housekeeping department. “I hope to inspire our team to do more to collect products by showing them the result of the hygiene products they collect.”
Jason Gonzalez, from Harrah’s Metropolis, taking the bags with soap and adding bottled amenities.
“It’s great to be part of our companywide Clean the World effort in another market,” shared Amanda Lagunas, CodeGreen leader from the Rio Las Vegas. “The team from Clean the World really engages everyone with hygiene education and up-cycled products from our hotels.”
Sarah from Harrah’s North Kansas City adds that everyone should participate in a CTW distribution to really understand the impact of collecting soap. “I’m very happy to be part this trip and share in this experience so I can continue to benefit the partnership once back at Harrah’s.”
Clean the World Hygiene Kit Builds and Celebrations
Festivities kicked off with a tour through Horseshoe Hammond’s casino floors and back hallways, leading into the hygiene kit assembly area. Here, we joined local Caesars leaders and department representatives to stock the kits with hygiene products like soap and toothpaste. “This is such an important firsthand experience,” said Marta de Solorio, Inspector at Bally’s Las Vegas, who traveled from Las Vegas to join the team of contest winners in building and distributing kits. Marta continued, “I can now share with my housekeeping team that I’ve taken the soap they’ve collected and included it in hygiene kits to benefit others.”
Marta de Solorio (right; Bally Las Vegas) is filling up new children’s kits with youth specialty items to launch on this distribution trip.
The contest winners, local HEROs and CodeGreen team members and leadership lined the table and started stuffing bags with important hygiene products. Regional Vice President and General Manager of Horseshoe Hammond and Caesars Foundation Trustee, Dan Nita, joined the group as we formed assembly lines to stuff adult and youth kits with hygiene products and notes of encouragement, amounting to 1,000 hygiene kits in all. “It’s great to have all these team members from around the country coming together to build these hygiene kits to support our local community,” shared Dan Nita.
After putting the kits together, in true Caesars Entertainment style we wasted no time before celebrating the partnership and this year’s exceptional contest winners. Regional Vice President of Human Resources at Horseshoe Hammond, Dawn Reynolds, welcomed all attending the lunch, “We’re each here today because of an individual connection to Caesars Code of Commitment.” Dawn continued, “Caesars has made great strides in Citizenship programs like Clean the World that has deepened our resolve to the Code of Commitment.” Applause and smiles filled the Lakeview room, which looks over beautiful Lake Michigan, as each of the winners were recognized for their outstanding work and why they were selected for the distribution trip.
Sarah Grinstead (Harrah’s North Kansas City) standing to be recognized as the Citizenship Champion for her outstanding service that combines CodeGreen and community involvement initiatives.
The lunch left everyone with a great appreciation of the partnership with CTW and the beneficial impact we’re making by collecting and donating soap. Horseshoe Hammond HERO Co-Chair, Stephanie Romano, closed lunch with sharing the importance of connecting and contributing back to the local community. “It is important to build a connection and serve the community where our team members live and work.” Stephanie continued, “It’s been an honor to host this year’s CTW celebration and distribution.”
Caesars Launches Clean the World’s New Youth Hygiene Kits to Serve Chicago Area
Team Member-Driven Leadership
Our housekeeping team members are the driving force behind our Clean the World (CTW) partnership. In fact, it began out of their concern over the growing amount of waste from half-used bars of soap. The housekeepers drive the daily soap collections happening across our locations, motivating their colleagues with their passion (and friendly reminders!).
To reward team members for their hard work and drive greater impact, we throw an annual contest in which they’re nominated by colleagues and managers to win a trip to distribute soap to those in need.
Closer to Home: Soap Distribution Where We Live & Work
While employees participating in past distribution trips loved seeing how communities abroad benefited from their hard work, they wanted to help people closer to home, too. Caesars has long supported and served the communities where we live and work, so this year we’re trying a different approach to soap distribution.
Through a partnership with CTW’s ONE Project, which distributes hygiene kits in North America, guests and team members are assembling hygiene kits that include items like soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush. This year’s distribution trip will launch CTW’s new youth hygiene kit that has specialty hygiene products for children. It’s our hope that they make life a little more comfortable for adults and children in difficult situations.
Here’s a bit more on this year’s six winning employees! We chose them from a nomination pool of entries across our North American properties of dedicated Clean the World supporters in housekeeping and facilities, passionate advocates for CodeGreen and employees who show an outstanding dedication to our Citizenship efforts in general.
Marta de Solorio, Inspector, Bally’s Las Vegas
A housekeeping inspector at Bally’s Las Vegas for 19 years, Marta goes above and beyond to make sure that all housekeeping employees are gathering soaps from rooms. When she’s not at work, Marta promotes Clean the World’s work to her family and friends as a good way to help people facing poverty.
Jason Gonzalez, Housekeeping, Harrah’s Metropolis
Jason is also a strong advocate for the Clean the World program among his colleagues – and he takes care of the important step that comes after collection: making sure that soaps are properly packaged and labeled for shipping.
Genie Hattig, Housekeeping Warehouse Manager, Planet Hollywood
Nominated for her overall commitment to CodeGreen, especially managing in-room recycling and facilitating our audits for Green Key, an environmental certification, Genie is also dedicated to Clean the World. She manages housekeeping teams in charge of collecting soap/shampoo from guest rooms.
Katherene is the food and beverage leader for her property and has led a number of sustainability projects, including creating an employee garden and making creative use of wine corks by designing a sculpture for the Bon Appétit Uncork’d event at Caesars Palace.
Amanda Lagunas, Wardrobe Manager, Rio
Amanda is the Rio’s CodeGreen Leader, driving employee participation in the program to achieve a 300% increase in involvement. As the recipient of the 2016 Caesars Award of Excellence in the integrity category, Amanda is a true advocate for CodeGreen, organizing everything from food drives to helping a local school district reduce its water usage.
Sarah Grinstead, Cleaner, Harrah’s North Kansas City
Whether at work in housekeeping or at home, Sarah is dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling. She’s creative, too, partnering with her sister to weave mats for the homeless from plastic grocery bags. Sarah also participates in many HERO activities – and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity on her own time.
…to learn about team member experiences distributing hygiene kits in the Chicagoland area!
The passion that ignites the Clean the World (CTW) program has spread across Caesars since we began working with the nonprofit six years ago. We’re proud to support CTW’s mission to fight bacterial diseases while diverting hotel soap and hygiene product waste from landfills. Since 2010, Caesars and the Caesars Foundation have gifted $3 million to the organization in financial contributions, pounds of soap and volunteer hours. These gifts have contributed to the building of the Las Vegas CTW soap recycling center, the ability for team members and guests to assemble essential hygiene kits, and multiple international soap distribution trips.
2015 Clean the World Distribution Trip winners distributing soap to 1,000 families in Guatemala.
Caesars Foundation’s 1 million in grants to CTW helped build CTW’s Las Vegas recycling center, the nonprofit’s largest yet, helping to divert even more hygiene product waste from landfill. Our support of the recycling center and integration of soap collection practices in all housekeeping departments has resulted in Caesars donating nearly 2 million bars of soap to date. Over time, our support of CTW has expanded to include distribution of hygiene kits at Caesars volunteer events supporting the homeless. We’ve also created CTW hygiene kit building events as part of our of community service opportunities for our Meetings & Conventions clients and guests.
Excitement for the environmental and community components of the CTW program reaches an all-time high each year during the annual employee distribution trip. Last year, the three winners of the 2015 CTW Distribution Trip traveled to Las Vegas for a celebration of the program and then to Guatemala where they distributed soap to 1,000 families in Guatemala. Yader El-Azar, food server from Paris Las Vegas, shared his takeaway from the trip, saying: “hygiene products and education about how to properly use it can make a big impact in these communities by lowering the number of illness and diseases.”
Stay tuned for updates from Caesars’ biggest and best distribution trip yet – it’s coming up next week!
September 25th marks one year since the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were announced. You may remember the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of poverty-related goals created by the UN in 2000, and the SDGs are similar in some ways. Like the SDGs, the MDGs focused on poverty and associated issues like child mortality and infectious disease. Environmental sustainability was also a consideration. The SDGs build where the MDGs left off; they’re more detailed and span a variety of areas, from ending poverty and hunger to improving economic growth and leveraging clean energy.
Here are the Sustainable Development Goals:
The SDGs are also different from the MDGs in how they were created and how they’ll be achieved, which is where Caesars comes in.
What Companies Can Do to Support Sustainable Development Goals
Though national governments hold ultimate responsibility for achieving the goals, they can’t do it without the collaboration of many stakeholders. That’s why the SDGs specifically call on companies to help address the world’s biggest challenges, from health to economic development to responsible consumption.
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “Business is a vital partner in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Companies can contribute through their core activities, and we ask companies everywhere to assess their impact, set ambitious goals and communicate transparently about the results.”
What Caesars Can Do
As an initial step in contributing to the SDGs, we examined what we’re already doing that aligns with the 17 goals. Our existing 11 citizenship priorities are related to our guests, employees, environment and communities, and there is a lot of alignment between our priorities and the SDGs.
In our 2015-2016 Citizenship Report, we outlined how the following eight Sustainable Development Goals are closely tied to our citizenship priorities and shared some examples of progress.
#3: Good Health and Well-Being: Our Wellness Reward employee program has 80% voluntary participation rates. Since between 2000 and 2015, our employees’ cholesterol was reduced by 29%; rates of smoking were reduced by 31%.
#5: Gender Equality: We have a 42% rate of women in management and actively promote women vendors.
#8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: We provide decent work by hiring for diversity (34% of our managers are people of color). We also support economic growth in local communities—in 2015, we generated $4.4 million of value for every $10 million in revenue.
#11: Sustainable Cities and Communities: Caesars contributes to revitalizing city life and improving infrastructure in cities like Baltimore and New Orleans.
#12: Responsible Consumption and Production: For our business, responsible consumption includes responsible use of our “product,” entertainment. That’s why we’ve been a longtime industry leader in Responsible Gaming, training more than 45,000 employees in 2015.
#13: Climate Action: Caesars has reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% since 2007 and is working to reduce them by 40% by 2025 (over a 2007 baseline).
#17: Partnerships for the Goals: We partner to advance sustainable business and positive impacts on society. We combine our expertise with organizations addressing problem gambling, climate, energy and social impact.
Caesars will continue to report our progress toward these eight SDGs to support a more sustainable and just world for all. In the future, Caesars will continue to build upon its work as a responsible business and deepen its work around the SDGs, such as outcomes of its impacts in reducing inequalities.
Taking an active role to improve lives in our communities is part of Caesars’ DNA. Our employees are deeply involved in volunteering through our HERO program, and our Foundation supports community organizations and nonprofits with grants. There’s another way to get involved, too, and it’s especially relevant in this election year: by engaging with the political and government process. We encourage all our guests and employees, no matter their party affiliation (or lack thereof), to support the political issues that affect them.
For employees who have immigrated to the U.S., nothing represents civic engagement more than the opportunity to become a citizen of this country. The process of gaining citizenship can be confusing and intimidating; our goal is to provide the necessary support to simplify the process. To date our Citizenship Rewards program has helped 320 employees become citizens, with more than 40 attaining citizenship in 2015 alone, and plans to aid another 60 employees this year.
In southern Nevada and southern California, our properties partner with local organizations like American Immigration Lawyers Association, Mi Familia Vota, the National Immigration Forum and the Human Rights Campaign for Community-Based Naturalization. We host workshops on the legal and financial aspects of applying for U.S. citizenship, and help employees fill out the actual citizenship application. To assist employees offset the $680 application fee, Caesars properties in southern California give employees $150 per application and loans employees the remainder of the cost; employees repay Caesars through a small withdrawals from each paycheck.
Caesars partner Vida Lin of the Asian Community Development Council registers voters at Paris Las Vegas.
“It’s important that Asian Americans vote and have their voice heard,” says Vida Lin, president and founder of the Las Vegas-based Asian Community Development Council (ACDC). “However, Las Vegas is a 24-hour town, and it’s hard to reach our community to help them understand why voting is so important.” So ACDC worked with Caesars to bring voter registration to Caesars employees at work, giving them the opportunity to register and learn more about issues on their breaks. In 2016, ACDC made a total of 18 visits to our Las Vegas properties and registered a total of 160 Caesars employees. ACDC helps register all Caesars employees, no matter their racial or ethnic background, and is also available to educate our Asian American employees on issues that specifically impact their community. Where possible, we offer similar voter registration and education services in partnership with other local organizations around the country.
Caesars also supports the Las Vegas Asian community by hosting the ACDC’s events, such as a health and civic engagement fair, which will place in October. The fair will address the challenges of the Asian American community in accessing wellness and preventive care.
Championing Civil Liberties
There is perhaps no better-known advocate for civil liberties than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Caesars has long partnered with the Nevada chapter. For example, in the 2015 legislative session, we helped the ACLU defeat a bill limiting bathroom access for people who identify as transgender. Similarly, in 2013, Caesars supported marriage equality, partnering with the ACLU of Nevada to overturn an existing law defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
In 2016, the ACLU is celebrating its 50th anniversary defending the civil liberties of Nevadans and hosted a gala to celebrate. Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of government affairs and corporate responsibility, was honored with the organization’s Community Equality award for her longstanding commitment to LGBT rights, women’s rights and gender equality. “Jan is a progressive, action-oriented and forward-thinking leader, and Caesars is always ahead of the pack in preventing discrimination and advocating for equality,” said Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada.
It is our hope that our commitment to civic engagement has a meaningful impact on our employees, guests and the communities where we all live and work.