Chicago — A series of devastating storms and hurricanes were followed this fall by the horrific massacre in Las Vegas at the Route 41 Harvest Festival October 1. Significant efforts have been made in the form of philanthropic donations to help individuals and cities recover from the storms and the shootings.
Funds for hurricane victims of storms Harvey, Irma and Maria came from the American Red Cross, which raised $404 million. Another $5.6 million came from Catholic Charities and $303.2 million was raised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Entertainer Jennifer Lopez donated $1 million to Puerto Rico relief and the NFL’s Houston Texans star J.J. Watt single-handedly raised $14 million for Hurricane Harvey’s victims. The Association for Packaging and Processing Technology (PMMI), gave $325,000 for hurricane relief raised at its PACK EXPO show in Las Vegas in late September.
Other philanthropic efforts emerged in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 59 and injured more than 500 during the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The Las Vegas community came together quickly, launching #VegasStrong Twitter updates, a text-based donation mechanism (text Vegas to 20222 to donate $10) and a dedicated website, www.clarkcountyNV.gov for donations to victims and their families. Because so many victims had California ties, a separate donation site was set up for them at www.victims.ca.gov/lasvegas.
IMEX America, the largest U.S. hosted-buyer/trade show program for incentive travel, meetings and events, debuted at the Sands October 9 as scheduled, undaunted by the shootings. Their website outlined enhanced security efforts along with statements of empathy from both the Sands and Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
The site also prominently displayed a link to a fundraising site to support shooting victims and their families. The gofundme.com site, called the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, was launched on Oct. 2 in Las Vegas by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak. By October 10, that fund had raised $10.5 million of its $15 million goal.
In addition, Sands’ owner Sheldon Adelson donated $4 million to the cause through his Family Foundation and MGM Resorts donated $3 million. Others contributing significant sums included the Cosmopolitan, Diamond Resorts’ Steve Cloobeck, the Oakland Raiders NFL team (expected to relocate to Las Vegas within the next few years) and the NFL Foundation.
The American Gaming Association—which held its show the week after the shooting, raised $100,000 for victims and their families on gofundme.com.