Caesars Corporate Citizenship Blog

The CodeGreen Cocktail Challenge

Who says going green can’t be fun?!?! We asked our world-famous bartenders and chefs to create eco-inspired cocktails that were enjoyed around the country during April, which is Earth Month. And they rose to the occasion! The winners were selected based on the creativity and popularity of the cocktail. Check out these recipes, all of which are made with locally-sourced ingredients and served in a no-waste cup.


Our amazing team created more than 20 unique and delicious cocktails. The winners receive a $500 donation made to a nonprofit of the location’s choice. Read on for some happy hour inspiration, including photos and cocktail ingredients.

And cheers to our planet!

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

The Spicy Margarita: Basil- and jalapeno-infused syrup, Jose Cuervo Especial Silver Tequila, Sierra Mist and a basil-leaf garnish


Harrah’s Ak-Chin:

Gold Rush: A CodeGreen Cocktail: Locally sourced honey, fresh squeezed lemon and Jim Beam Bourbon.

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and Horseshoe Bossier City:  Strawberry Pie Martini, Green Kitty Punch, Horseshoe Sangria

Strawberry Pie Martini: Tito’s vodka, vanilla bean, Louisiana strawberries and locally sourced raw honey

Green Kitty Punch: Tito’s vodka, Malibu mango rum, pineapple juice and grenadine, topped with cherries and citrus slices

Horseshoe Sangria: Kiepersol Red Blend Wine, fresh Louisiana berries and fruit


Congrats to the inaugural CodeGreen Cocktail Challenge winners and thanks to all who participated!

CodeGreen Challenge Winners

Our annual CodeGreen Challenge is a neck-and-neck competition for the greenest location of all! It gets our teams pumped up about reducing environmental impact and giving back to the communities where we live and work. This year, Caesars Windsor took the eco-friendly cake, with Harrah’s Ak-Chin in second place. It was too hard to pick a third place winner, so we awarded a tie to three locations in both Las Vegas and in Atlantic City!

First Place: Caesars Windsor

Caesars Windsor employees with their families joined ERCA (Essex Regional Conservation Authority) to help plant over 2000 trees in their Annual Earth Day Tree Planting Event.

Clad in CodeGreen hockey jerseys, Caesars Windsor team members built team member and guest participation with CodeGreen activities. From collecting clothing to be donated to Goodwill, to gathering batteries, glasses and e-waste at properties, they made an impact while educating people on just how many household items should be recycled. Thanks to their efforts, more than 2,100 new trees were planted in the Windsor community and 1,500 Clean the World Hygiene kits filled with soap, shampoo and conditioner delivered to local shelters. Caesars Windsor’s work was so recognized that the media covered their efforts 20 times in a mere six weeks!

Caesars Windsor sweetened the deal for guests with giveaways, including three hybrid cars and CAD $30,000 (USD $22,300), plus double Total Reward credits for guests who opt in to the location’s CodeGreen hotel rooms.

Second Place: Harrah’s Ak-Chin

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and the Ak-Chin Indian Community celebrating Earth Day by participating in Adopt A Highway Clean Up.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin secured its third consecutive CodeGreen Challenge win with another year of stellar participation: Two-thirds of team members took part in some kind of CodeGreen activity during the Challenge! One of the location’s big projects was ensuring that a planned demolition of a bingo hall didn’t create waste – team members ensured the donation of tables and chairs to the local Ak-Chin tribe, recycling in total more than 51,000 pounds of items.

On Earth Day, Harrah’s Ak-Chin had a special celebration in partnership with the Ak-Chin community, sharing a CodeGreen breakfast and educating people on all things green, from wildlife preservation to sustainable artwork. They took first place in the booth contest, drawing attendees in with their bicycle powered slot machine.

Tied for Third: Las Vegas Locations (Flamingo, Cromwell, LINQ)

Team members representing Caesars Entertainment locations across Las Vegas entertained guests on Earth Day with outfits made from upcycled materials found at work.

Flamingo, Cromwell and LINQ worked together to host sustainability activities that touched thousands of guests and team members in the Las Vegas region. They supported two nonprofit partners – National Park Trust and Clean the World – by leading more than 100 elementary school students on an outdoor discovery adventure at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and setting up soap sorting days at the Clean the World recycling center. These locations also hosted the inaugural “Recycled Fashion Show” at the LINQ promenade, where our team members strutted across the runway in outfits made from upcycled materials.

Tied for Third: Atlantic City Locations (Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s)

Atlantic City leveraged Earth Month excitement to promote Meetings for Good, a menu of volunteer opportunities for our meetings and conventions clients. There were five groups that built in a Meetings for Good volunteer activity, supporting United Way, Humane Society, Clean the World and Salvation Army.

The three locations also hosted clean-ups, an Earth Day festival, participated in National Walking Day and much more. Plus, it was a special treat to see Hamiyd Washington, HR Trainer, dress up as Buddy Bison for local schools as part of the National Park Trust’s environmental education program!

Thanks to all Caesars Entertainment locations who participated in the CodeGreen Challenge this year!

Celebrating Seniors in our Communities

While Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Foundation support older individuals year-round, May is particularly special as it is officially the beginning of Senior Appreciation Quarter. Each year, team members create special opportunities for seniors to inspire healthy aging and enhance quality of life. At the end of Senior Appreciation Quarter, we’ll share the fun and educational activities that took place at our locations around the U.S. For now, here’s one way we support seniors throughout the year in partnership with Caesars Foundation.

Sharing Dreams

Second Wind Dreams is a nonprofit working to change the perception of aging through the fulfillment of dreams. Since 2009, Second Wind Dreams, Caesars Foundation, and HERO volunteers have fulfilled dreams and hosted events for 3,000-plus elders. To date, Caesars Foundation has contributed nearly $1.4 million to Second Wind Dreams.

Caesars Foundation supports Second Wind Dreams’ partnerships with Caesars locations in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and New Orleans. Activities vary based on local seniors’ interests. For example, in Las Vegas, High Roller Day is a hit. HEROs roll out the red carpet for seniors and give them a ride on the High Roller before it opens to the public. In Atlantic City, the Foundation at Second Wind Dreams hosts a luncheon at Harrah’s and takes elders to a Philadelphia Eagles football game. New Orleans is focused on monthly visits to nursing homes with a variety of fun activities, from manicures to bingo games to auctions. Seniors in the New Orleans nursing homes served by Second Wind Dreams are from especially disadvantaged backgrounds, so ongoing activities are appreciated.

Making Dreams Come True


“We strive to always have it be a surprise when we fulfill dreams,” says Amy Safran, Director, Community Relations for Second Wind Dreams. Read on to find out how Caesars Foundation funded dream fulfillment for two deserving older adults.

Stella is reunited with her niece Judy and Judy’s husband, Vito.

Stella: Ninety-year-old Stella, a resident of a Las Vegas area retirement community, has no family in the area. She is close with her niece, Judy, though they hadn’t spent time together in person in 10 years because Judy lives in Chicago. To surprise Stella, Second Wind Dreams flew Judy and her husband to the Senior Appreciation Luncheon at Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. There were tears all around as aunt and niece reunited.

Martin chats with Harrah’s New Orleans HERO Chair Laurie about his visit to the New Orleans National WWII Museum.

Martin: Texas resident and World War II veteran Martin dreamed of visiting the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Because he lives in an assisted living facility, the trip wasn’t feasible. Second Wind Dreams flew Martin and his daughter to New Orleans and hosted them at Harrah’s. Second Wind Dreams also arranged for the museum staff to give Martin a special greeting in honor of his service to our country.


How Healthy Is Your Brain?


This Is Your Brain On Crosswords

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 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 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.

HERO Stars: Three Team Members Who Are Fabulous!

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!

Andrea Vaught, Cage Relief Manager at HARRAH’S CHEROKEE

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  Lerma, Table Games Supervisor at 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 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 Henderson, Security Officer, HARRAH’S AK-CHIN

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.

CodeGreen Challenge at Harrah’s New Orleans

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.

Here’s what Harrah’s New Orleans has planned for 2017:

Key Local Priorities:

Rebuilding Homes

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!”



Three Reasons Diversity is Important in Driving Sustainability

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.

Exemplifying our Caring Culture: Arnetta “Coco” Jones

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.”

Watch Arnetta’s story here:

Valuing Diversity: Johnny Wong

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:

Supporting Immigrant Team Members: Caesars Entertainment Statement on Immigration

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: