Cover Story: Worth The Gamble
In September, the NVCI opened the doors of its four-story, 142,000-square-foot facility, which fosters scientific research and discovery and provides complete cancer diagnosis and treatment services for patients and their families. Construction of the $52 million facility was funded by donations and a repayable $1 million construction bond.
The first support the NVCI received came from the Howard Hughes Corp. (subsequently acquired by the Rouse Co. and then General Growth Properties) when it donated six acres to the NVCI on which to build its new facility. The acreage is part of a 61-acre parcel that’s earmarked for health and wellness entities in Las Vegas.
A new kind of challenge
Raising money in Las Vegas, a young city where philanthropy is still taking root, hasn’t been easy for local charities and foundations, Gitomer says.
“In many cities that are older than Las Vegas, like Baltimore or Philadelphia, there exists multi-generational fundraising, where it’s part of the texture and thread of the community, and social responsibility is very important,” she explains. “But these are things that are learned over generations, and over time. In Las Vegas, it’s not that the people aren’t generous, but it’s a very young town that’s just going from a town to a city. There’s not a history of fundraising here yet.”
Gitomer also feels the NVCI’s fundraising efforts in Las Vegas will help other local nonprofits because it has heightened potential donors’ awareness that they need to give back to the community in order to fund efforts in education, the arts and healthcare.
“Our coming here has spurred interest in fundraising. We’re not trying to drive other nonprofits’ numbers down. I think we’re helping to drive them up,” Gitomer says, adding that the NVCI is careful in its solicitation to encourage people to keep giving to causes they’ve given to before. “We would be hesitant to accept a gift from someone if it would hurt another nonprofit.”