What do crosswords, social interaction and getting plenty of rest have in common? They’re all pathways to a healthy brain!
The risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders increases with age. At Caesars Entertainment, we care about seniors year-round and celebrate them during Senior Appreciation Quarter, so we support organizations like the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, which treats brain disorders.
Healthy Brains Initiative
In 2014, the Caesars Foundation provided a three-year, $600,000 grant to the Lou Ruvo Center to develop the Healthy Brains Initiative. Key to the initiative is – a website, app and online community dedicated to brain health. Taking the Healthy Brains assessment provides you with tips related to your health – not just the usual guidance to eat healthfully and exercise, but to volunteer, play games and even eat dark chocolate!
Putting our Heads Together to Make a Difference
Caesars’ HERO volunteers are always looking for ways to show their caring with our communities, so last year, we created a volunteer program called Smart HERO to support HealthyBrains.org in the Las Vegas region. By doing so, we extend the impact of the Caesars Foundation’s philanthropic dollars by using the brainpower and work of Caesars team members.
Smart HEROs were specially trained by Lou Ruvo Center on the Cleveland Clinic’s Six Pillars of Brain Health: social interaction, physical fitness, food and nutrition, medical health, sleep and relaxation and mental fitness.
The Smart HERO team educated both guests and fellow team members about brain health and helped them complete the assessment at HealthyBrains.org. Lou Ruvo Center was pleased to see Caesars’ involvement create a 10% increase in assessment takers last year! This year, we are expanding the Smart HERO program to properties across the globe so we can help Lou Ruvo reach people outside the Las Vegas region with its brain health guidance.
Thanks to this new expansion and our partnership with Luo Ruvo Center, this year’s Healthy Brains Day had phenomenal success. In 48 hours alone there was a +1,160 increase in Clinical Trials interest, a +1,735 increase in Newsletter Subscribers and a +1,847 increase in registrants.
Feeding Our Brains
For Healthy Brains Day this year, Caesars asked chefs to create Healthy Brains menus that serve up brain-healthy foods like salmon, vegetables and nuts. Meals will be served in Caesars restaurants as well as our employee dining room. For example, team members at Rio Las Vegas enjoyed sautéed green beans, kale salad with raspberry vinaigrette and slow-roasted salmon with cherry tomatoes.
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 salute their efforts!
Two years ago, we launched a new recognition program for our HEROs, encouraging their managers and those they serve in the community to recommend their HERO volunteers for recognition. Each quarter, Caesars Entertainment celebrates HERO Stars whose volunteer efforts go above and beyond. This quarter, we are proud to honor three outstanding HEROs who gave their time and their efforts to make a difference.
Read on to learn about our HERO Stars for the first quarter of 2017. They’ll each receive a $500 check to share with the nonprofit of their choice. Three cheers to our three HERO Stars who make their communities better places!
According to Andrea’s supervisor, she is a role model both at and outside of work, contributing to donation drives at Harrah’s Cherokee as well as supporting her church and a local elementary school.
Andrea’s commitment to local first graders is impressive—she volunteers each Monday tutoring a group of four students who struggle with academics. Andrea even crocheted “thinking caps” for the kids to give them a fun way to remember to focus on their work.
Andrea also volunteers at her church twice each week, helping out in the church nursery during Sunday services and hosting disadvantaged children each Wednesday at the church for a home-cooked meal. Andrea’s group also provides toiletries, feminine hygiene products, jackets, shoes and more to the children as needed.
Of course, Andrea is engaged in Harrah’s Cherokee’s causes, too! In fact, her pay stub is two pages long because she has so many deductions taken out to support local nonprofits. She inspires her colleagues, too, leading the charge to provide Thanksgiving groceries to a local family in need. Andrea directed her $500 donation to “Kids Foods Bag” which provides grade school children with meals for the weekend.
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 contributing to support for cancer survivors, including financial support for treatment, wigs, rides and support for caregivers. Involved with the organization for more than five years, Dianna raised a whopping $12,500 last year alone.
Dianna also supports other community needs, including supporting local Vietnam Veterans organizations and leukemia and lymphoma awareness. Dianna has designated her $500 donation to go towards the Harrah’s Joliet Relay for Life team’s fundraising for American Cancer Society.
Keith is truly passionate about helping kids and has made one of the most significant commitments a person can: he is a foster parent. He currently fosters two boys, a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, both of whom have special needs and require extra attention. Keith likes to get the kids to set goals in their lives and does whatever he can to help them be successful, giving selflessly of his personal time in addition to providing a safe and loving home.
Keith is also a basketball coach for three different teams. He loves watching the kids’ excitement when they win and also enjoys helping the kids through the disappointment of a loss, providing guidance for the next game. Keith had a total of 1,776.5 total HERO hours in 2016 and plans to beat this in 2017! His $500 donation will go to Arizona Special Olympics.
Just in time for Earth Month, our yearly CodeGreen Challenge gets team members even more involved in the community than usual, providing opportunities to support CodeGreen and give back to local causes. This year, we’ve challenged properties to create a CodeGreen cocktail made of local and sustainable ingredients.
Harrah’s New Orleans HERO volunteers partner with Rebuilding Together on renovating at least two homes per year. Harrah’s actively seeks out homes that need an eco-conscious upgrade, like energy efficient windows.
Addressing Coastal Erosion
According to Michael Ruffin, Community Relations Manager and CodeGreen Leader, “As Hurricane Katrina demonstrated, coastal erosion is a major environmental issue on the Gulf Coast. HERO has partnered with groups like the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to plant native marsh grasses in the bayous and wetlands.”
He continued, “We’ve joined a national fight to protect our wetlands utilizing our most invaluable asset, people. Through our HERO program, we continue to develop strong partnerships with leading organizations to help alleviate environmental challenges. We have a long way to go, but we continue to make progress.”
Students and HERO volunteers clean up at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
Secret to Last Year’s Success: Last year, to build interest in national parks, Harrah’s New Orleans introduced a costumed character, Olly the Oak Tree, from Bayou Segnette State Park. Olly made a special appearance in the team member cafeteria to spread the word about Nature Deficit Disorder, which can be cured with a visit to a national park.
2017 Plans: Like many Caesars Entertainment locations, Harrah’s participated in last month’s Earth Hour with guests and employees.
On March 31, the location’s HERO volunteers worked with Caesars Foundation and the National Park Trust to chaperone 110 fourth graders from Chalmette Elementary on a trip to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.
Bourbon Street Old Fashioned
According to Michael, “Exposure is a major key to success. It’s important that we explore the history, arts, culture and landmarks with our youth. Those volunteering had an opportunity to teach, learn and most importantly, be of service to the next generation.”
CodeGreen Cocktail: The Bourbon Street Old Fashioned is made of southern whiskey and local citrus. Louisiana’s own Crystal Hot Sauce serves as a stand-in for the traditional bitters. Of the drink, Michael says, “This creative drink is a reflection of New Orleans’ vibrant culture. It’s also a delicious way to share the message of environmental conservation with both locals and visitors. We debuted it at our pop-up at the annual French Quarter Festival last weekend!”
By Dawnielle Tellez, Corporate Responsibility Intern
The term “sustainability” can be complex and take on different meanings. The most common definition of sustainability comes from the 1987 UN Brundtland Commission:
“Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
For many in my generation, Generation Y, more commonly known as millennials, sustainability extends far beyond just meeting people’s needs – it’s our way of life. We’re the most racially diverse and environmentally driven generation to date; which transforms not only the way we choose to live day-to-day, but also the way we strive to contribute in the workplace. In a recent survey, Deloitte discovered that more than 70 percent of millennials are more likely than previous generations to focus on teamwork with an emphasis on collaboration and business impact.
So what does it mean for corporate sustainability when millennials are bringing the most racially diverse, environmentally conscious, impact-driven teams to the table?
For me, it means continuing the work I began in graduate school. I am a founding member of a women’s leadership group aimed at providing skills-building, learning and networking opportunities for the next generation of environmental sustainability professionals. From salary negotiation workshops to lectures on recognizing and overcoming gender biases in the workplace, our group has begun to fill the information gap around diversity and sustainability through actionable recommendations. I expect that other young professionals will continue to join my classmates and me as we enter the workforce in asking more from our peers, employers and community leaders to address this key area.
Affecting meaningful change through sustainability and diversity are not merely trends but needs when millennials are key employees, customers, stakeholders and increasingly, managers.
Here are three reasons why diversity is important to sustainability:
Diversity is embedded in the definition of sustainability
Sustainability is both global and local in scope
Environmental impacts are as global as carbon footprint and as local as litter in our neighborhoods. There are so many ways diversity comes into the picture as we think about today’s businesses. From the footprint of global supply chains to multinationals’ locations in communities around the world, companies are intrinsically linked to the people they employ and places in which they operate.
Environmental justice and sustainability
The costs and benefits associated with environmental impacts aren’t always equally distributed among people. According to the National Resources Defense Council, people who live, work and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and disadvantaged communities. Increasingly, businesses have the duty to help reconstruct how resources – and environmental impacts – are shared among communities.
Diversity adds value across multiple perspectives
Strength in diverse voices and views
The more representation, inclusion and engagement there is in the workplace, the stronger the outcomes. As the number of diverse stakeholders grows for global businesses, so too does their corporate responsibility team’s need to account for and incorporate these diverse perspectives.
Diversity enriches collaboration
Corporations, nonprofits and individuals can partner to better serve communities
When environmental progress stalls at a national level, creative and dedicated partnerships across sectors can step in to fill the void. Bringing together the diversity in opinions, approaches and goals of various organizations and individuals can help bridge the divide at all levels – local, state, national and international. Caesars Entertainment is one of the companies taking the lead to embed sustainability across its business. Through innovative programs like CodeGreen at Home, Caesars incentivizes its employees to practice sustainable actions at both the workplace and at home.
Corporate responsibility is evolving with underpinnings of diversity throughout. As millennials continue to rise into the workforce, I hope we’ll continue driving this evolution. It’s more important now than ever – a recent GreenBiz article highlights challenges associated with creating more racial diversity in sustainability leadership roles. Truly, diversity in corporate sustainability should be at the center of the strategy as companies strive to make a difference in supply chains and communities in partnership with suppliers, customers, partners and employees.
Dawnielle is supporting Caesars Entertainment’s corporate responsibility team during as she completes her degree in Master of Environmental Science and Management at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Arnetta, an EVS team member at Harrah’s New Orleans, found out her new colleague was facing hardship taking care of her family and took action. “We care for everyone—guests, employees… the whole New Orleans area is on our shoulders, and we stand up for our commitment.”
Johnny, a culinary team member at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, is beloved by guests for his omelets and by his colleagues for his integrity.
Johnny came to the U.S. in 1983 from Cambodia and began cooking the following year. He typically works on the front line, making his famous omelets and chatting with guests, but he’s also a “do-it-all” team member, helping out wherever needed in the kitchen.
Johnny notes that the kitchen team at Horseshoe Southern Indiana includes team members from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Mongolia. “It’s nice to get to know people from different countries, different cultures,” says Johnny. “Sometimes we don’t understand each other and we do sign language!”
When not working at Horseshoe, Johnny can be found watching movies and listening to music with his wife, daughter and son, or perhaps mowing the lawn.
Watch Johnny’s story here to see how he embodies diversity, an important Caesars Entertainment value:
Caesars supports comprehensive immigration reform that both advances border security as well as streamlines the immigration process for those who are willing to work hard and complete the legal process of citizenship. This has been our stance for many years and we continue to stand by it. We believe this reflects our corporate values of creating a caring culture and supporting the vibrant communities where we operate.
Our position is supported by the American Gaming Association, the foremost association in our industry. The AGA recognizes that our workforce is diverse and includes immigrants from around the world, and also depends on global consumers.
As always, we will continue to support comprehensive immigration reform at a policy level. We will also continue to support team members of Caesars and affiliated businesses who wish to become citizens. Here’s how our Citizenship Rewards program achieves that:
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