An Innovative Leader Focused on Creating Meaningful Change
in the Southern Nevada Community

After a comprehensive nationwide search, United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) Board of Directors is proud to announce the appointment of Julian High as their President and CEO.

Julian High

HIGH NOTES

Check out Julian's weekly "High Notes" communications to stay up-to-date with United Way of Southern Nevada.

High Notes Volume 1

Hello Friends,

I want to welcome you to “High Notes,” my weekly note to our friends and supporters in Southern Nevada.  At the heart of “High Notes,” is my desire to bring all of you along with me on this journey to connect our entire community to critical resources to provide everyone the opportunity to succeed. 

In case we haven’t met, I wanted to share about what brought me to my highest honor in being named President and CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada. As a native of Las Vegas, and a son of this entire valley, coming to this organization founded by Bill Boyd some fifty years ago is a dream come true. 
My first week has been incredibly transformational. As I visited the Westside of our community that I grew up in, I was inspired by the amazing work that our community partners and others do to deliver on the promise of being actively engaged in the community that we are meant to serve. 

I saw the power of providing a safety net of support during visits to two of our 38 community partners Chicanos Por La Causa Nevada (CPLC) and Family Promise of Las Vegas. At CPLC, it was an honor to meet Mamar, a student who now has the training and support he needs to attain his aspirations of a career in architecture and computer design. I met the CPLC team and learned how they are helping to provide homeless individuals a home, an opportunity to volunteer and access pathways to employment. At Family Promise, I learned about individuals who reached out for help for the first time after they suddenly lost their jobs due to COVID-19. They received kind, individualized support for all of the necessities and most importantly, they were able to keep their families safe with a roof over their heads. 
I witnessed the power of bringing the community together when we had the momentous opportunity to host the Nevada Recovers Listening Tour. We brought elected officials, nonprofit organizations and community members together to forge the future for our great community. I saw smaller, new organizations have the same opportunity to speak as larger more established organizations with Governor Sisolak taking notes about how to allocate federal funding. 

As I look forward to my first Day of Caring on October 8, I am inspired by the amazing stories from years past and what this day represents for our community. This day is a true representation of our Southern Nevada community coming together to create impactful change. 
I invite you to join us for our Day of Caring and join our work to help ensure that every person has a roof over their head, a good job and access to a quality education. In the coming weeks, months, years and decades, I hope the “High Notes” will become part of your weekly read.  

Thanks to all of you for your support. I look forward to working with you to realize the mission of the United Way of Southern Nevada. Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Until next week........stay tuned.

Dear Friend,

I wanted to share with you my deepest gratitude for your support. As United Way of Southern Nevada’s President and CEO, I am humbled by this opportunity to serve the community where I grew up. I will share my journey through these “High Notes”, so that together we can realize the mission of United Way of Southern Nevada.

When I think about what our United Way team has accomplished for our community, I am incredibly inspired. This team raised over $2.4 million during the pandemic to help over 179,000 individuals and families keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
 
Amazon co-founder MacKenzie Scott was so moved by the work that we provided to our local community that she invested $10 million to help ensure more individuals would receive support. This provides a critical foundation upon which we can collectively build to increase our impact in the community.
 
I am proud to announce funding to 38 organizations, five times as many than in years past, that will help provide quality education, workforce development and support to our community.  Most importantly, these 38 organizations will help a diverse group of individuals throughout Southern Nevada.
 
This week, I had the opportunity to see this investment in action and meet two of our community funded partners, Leaders in Training and Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. At Leaders in Training, I saw the power and vision of founder Erica Mosca in action as she helps first-generation college students accomplish their dreams, attend college, and come back to serve our community. At Catholic Charities, I saw the critical work of this organization in keeping individuals safe and off the street by providing support, a warm meal, and shelter.
 
We couldn’t do any of this work without the support of our dedicated Board of Directors. During our first Board Meeting together, I witnessed the true partnership that it takes to create change in our community. I was inspired by one of our board members, Marta Poling Schmitt, who demonstrated her commitment by holding an Oktoberfest Fundraiser garnering new support for UWSN.

When I look to the future and all that we can accomplish together, I am so excited to meet you next Friday, October 8 at our Day of Caring. We need your support to help nonprofits across the Valley, so I invite you to come out and join our team.
 
I look forward to the opportunity to get to know you, so please do not hesitate to reach out. Together, we can accomplish so much more. If you would like to receive a weekly update, please send an email to Marketing@uwsn.org. I appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you!
 
Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friend,

What a phenomenal, exciting week! Our team has been working day and night to prepare for our Day of Caring, our community’s largest day of volunteering. I invite you to come out and join us tomorrow, October 8 at 8:30am and make a difference for your favorite nonprofit. We will be meeting at Town Square on The Green (next to Guitar Center). If it’s raining, we will move the kickoff indoors to Stoney’s Rockin’ Country near The Green. A huge thank you to Chris Lowden and the Lowden family for their generous donation of our alternative indoor space.
 
Even during the pandemic, over 550 volunteers are giving back during our Day of Caring to help 40 agencies with 54 projects. We still have in-person and virtual family-inclusive volunteer opportunities available. Volunteers have the opportunity to help beautify apartments for local families, clean up gardens at Southern Nevada schools, create care packages for soon-to-be college students among many other opportunities.
 
When I think about how this work will make an impact for young students, families, seniors, and those who depend on the important work of our nonprofit partners, I know that we are fulfilling our mission in a meaningful way.
 
I am incredibly grateful for the support of our amazing sponsors featured below. Thank you to our media sponsors, Las Vegas Review Journal and KTNV 13 Action News for helping us to engage the community. A special thank you to our board chair, Ann Simmons Nicholson, and board member, Marta Poling Schmitt for your Day of Caring sponsorship.
 
I look forward to working closely together with you to help provide everyone the opportunity to succeed in our beloved city. I appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our Day of Caring!
 
Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support of our Day of Caring last Friday, October 8. It was so inspiring to see our community unite in such a meaningful way to help thousands of families, students, seniors and individuals during our Day of Caring. We demonstrated our true Las Vegas spirit and deployed over 650 volunteers who served at 40 agencies with 54 projects.

I am incredibly grateful for the huge outpouring of support from our 21 corporate partners featured here and all of the volunteers, nonprofits and individuals that made this year’s Day of Caring so amazing. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Chris Lowden and the Lowden family, we were able to bring our event inside at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country. The energy was contagious, and we were all thankful to be safe and warm and out of the rain!

During this important day, we saw the power of our United Way coming together as we provide support for one in four individuals in Southern Nevada. Please check out the Day of Caring photos here and if you have feedback about the event, please reach out to Savanna Sibley, our Volunteer Engagement and Events Manager at SavannaS@uwsn.org.

I had the opportunity to visit Salvation Army and the Just One Project. At Salvation Army, I joined a group of young volunteers from Cristo Rey St. Viator College Preparatory High School to help sort over 1,500 toys that will be distributed to children in need during the holiday season. At the Just One Project, we distributed bags of food to over 150 cars that depend on this support to feed their families and volunteered with our media sponsor and master of ceremonies, Tricia Kean from KTNV Channel 13. A huge thank you to our media sponsors KTNV Channel 13 and the Las Vegas Review Journal and all of the media outlets who provided the incredible media coverage.

It’s an exciting time for our United Way. The community is stepping up to support us in an amazing way with $27,500 donated in just one day thanks to the generosity of Cyrus and Joanne Spurlino of The Spurlino Foundation and Steven Comer. Thank you to all who joined us to celebrate and lift up the voices and stories of our Hispanic brothers and sisters during our Hispanic Heritage Month #United4Equity Screening and Panel of the documentary “Dolores. Rebel. Activist. Feminist. Mother.” We were truly amazed that the star of the film, Dolores Huerta, joined us for our Hispanic Heritage Month panel that also featured Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, Bliss Requa-Trautz from Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, and Professor Ruben Garcia from the UNLV William Boyd School of Law. We want to extend a special thanks to our event partners, the Office of Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, La Voz Las Vegas, UNLV William Boyd School of Law, and Art Houz Theaters.

As we look forward to upcoming events, we invite you to help empower local women return to the workplace and gather your women’s professional items for our Women United Suit Drive on November 4-5. To learn more and be a part of this dynamic group of women leaders, visit uwsn.org/WomenUnited.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

As Hispanic Heritage Month concludes, we are so proud to celebrate the local heroes who work tirelessly for our community.
 
We were inspired to personally meet Dolores Huerta and hear about her journey in the fight for racial and labor justice during our #United4Equity Hispanic Heritage Month Panel Discussion of the PBS Documentary DOLORES. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Councilwoman Olivia Diaz during the panel and for being a long-time advocate for the Hispanic and Latino community in Southern Nevada. We are creating a stronger community thanks to local champions like Councilwoman Diaz, Bliss Requa-Trautz of Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, and Professor Ruben Garcia from the UNLV William Boyd School of Law. In the words of Dolores, "we've got the people power" and we can use it to make our community better together.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the urgent need to connect deeper with our local Hispanic and Latino community. Through the leadership of Janet Quintero, Director of Community and Government Affairs at United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN), UWSN began hosting “Junta Comunitaria del Sector Social,” the Spanish-language version of UWSN’s Nonprofit Sector Call. Janet also began hosting “Unidos Por Nevada,” a bi-weekly radio show on 1460AM to connect the Spanish-speaking community with trusted and reliable resources.
 
Through visits with our 38 funded nonprofits, we have witnessed the incredible impact that our partners like Chicanos Por La Causa have made in empowering the next generation of Hispanic and Latino leaders. This inspiring organization delivers an array of education, trade training, and workforce services to young adults in Southern Nevada.

In the coming weeks, we will help local women prepare for career opportunities by providing professional items to those returning to the workplace through our Women United Suit Drive. You can support local women and help them gain the confidence to succeed as they get ready to take the next step in their careers by donating to the drive from November 4 through 5 at the UWSN Office.

Your continued partnership and support means so much to families, students, seniors, and individuals across Southern Nevada.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 
 
It has been an incredibly inspirational week! I had the opportunity to be inspired by stories from local students, connect with community leaders, and speak to the media about the importance of supporting local women through our Women United Suit Drive.

At the Project 150 partner tour, we heard stories of students who are focused on beating the odds, going to college, and securing a career that will lead them on a path to success. One student that had a huge impact on our team was Rosy. As the granddaughter of immigrants, Rosy was inspired to fight for her grandparent’s dream of a better future for their family and worked hard to realize this dream by excelling in her education. Through hard work and dedication, Rosy beat the odds by graduating high school as valedictorian with a 5.2 GPA. Thanks to the support of United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) and Project 150, Rosy will be attending UNLV Medical School in the Fall.

As we connect with the community and bring partners together for change, I had the distinct honor to attend the “Freedom Fund” NAACP of Las Vegas 2021 Gala and the 2021 Silver State Equality Awards. The intersectionality of the important work we are doing in support of our neighbors and friends in Southern Nevada was magnified in a moment of solidarity with the amazing leadership and courage of our own local NAACP. There is so much to be done and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the NAACP and other important partners ready to get the work done. Thank you Roxanne McCoy, Tony Gladney, Hannah Brown, Gene Collins, and many others in our local NAACP for the work you are doing to help make Southern Nevada a better place for everyone. The incredible leaders whom I met at these key events showed the impact that we can have when we work collaboratively as a community.
 
As our team continues our quest to help local women prepare to return to the workplace, I had the opportunity to share more about our Women United Suit Drive with “97.1 The Point” Host, Stephanie Mackenzie and other media outlets throughout the community. We invite you to join us and donate your women’s professional items during the Women United Suit Drive November 4 through 5 at the UWSN Office.

When we work together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”. Let’s continue to unite our diverse community to ensure that every person in Southern Nevada has the opportunity to succeed.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends,

Thank you for another incredible week! As we work to ensure everyone has the support they need to succeed, we’re grateful for the opportunity to meet with local leaders such as Councilwoman Olivia Diaz and hear the amazing stories of impact from our Day of Caring.

We were truly inspired after meeting with Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, her team members, and intern from Cristo Rey St. Viator, Anacidalia Rivera. Councilwoman Diaz connected with our team about what it means to be a trailblazer and create change within our community. Anacidalia shared about the significant experience of being represented by a councilwoman that looks like her and has a similar background. We were proud to see Councilwoman Diaz including our next generation of leaders in these important discussions.

We want to thank you again for helping to make meaningful change during our Day of Caring. We heard gratitude from nonprofits about the support that they received and from sponsors who appreciated the opportunity to give back to the community. Volunteers shared with us the excitement of being able to unite together with others and provide help to nonprofits throughout Southern Nevada. We invite you to check out this video that captures the energy of this important day!

As we look forward to the upcoming week, we are thrilled to experience a life-changing event – the presentation of four refurbished vehicles to four deserving Las Vegas families, including two veterans in need of reliable transportation. Thank you to the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program for hosting this event at our office and allowing us to be a part of this momentous day.

As Seth Godin said, “Empower a new generation to teach itself and to go further and faster than any generation ever has.” We invite you to inspire our next generation of leaders and continue to encourage them to be all that they can be.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends,

What an inspiring week it’s been! A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make this year’s 14th Annual Women United Suit Drive an incredible success!

It was incredibly heartwarming to see our Women United members and individuals from across the Valley donate an amazing 5,506 women’s professional clothing items! Thanks to the LIVE interviews on FOX 5 Vegas and KTNV 13 Action News, we saw a huge influx of clothing and accessories donations that will support local women as they prepare for job interviews and achieve financial stability. We are proud to work with our fellow nonprofit organizations including Catholic Charities, Dress for Success of Southern Nevada, Goodwill of Southern Nevada, HELP of Southern Nevada, SafeNest, and S.A.F.E. House to ensure that these items are distributed to those who need it the most in our community. To view photos from this year’s event, click here.

As we look forward to the holidays and increasing support for those struggling to provide for their families, we are thrilled to announce, “Everyone Deserves Hope.” Everyone Deserves Hope is an opportunity to help local individuals stay in their homes, provide for their families, and assist students to graduate and succeed. We look forward to sharing stories of the impact of your donations. We invite you to join us and learn more at uwsn.org/hope or text “HOPELV” to 313131.

As Jonas Salk said, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” We encourage you to help individuals, families, and students in Southern Nevada make their dreams a reality by giving the gift of hope today.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends,

What a rewarding week it’s been! We were incredibly honored to host a Thanksgiving Meal distribution with Las Vegas Raiders player, Casey Hayward, and his foundation, Hayward’s Hands.

In partnership with the Hayward’s Hands Foundation, we distributed Thanksgiving meal packages to 60 elementary school students and their families from Matt Kelly E.S. through a contactless drive-through event held at the United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) office. UWSN is dedicated to providing hope to local families in need and we were proud to help Southern Nevadans receive essential support during this holiday season.

As we show our appreciation, we would like to give a special thanks to Congresswoman Susie Lee for meeting with us on Veteran’s Day and for taking the time to discuss the myriad of issues facing the nonprofit sector in Southern Nevada. We would also like to welcome our new community partner The Tapestry Foundation to Southern Nevada and thank them for their generous support. We look forward to continuing to build great relationships with our community leaders and fellow local nonprofit organizations.

Most recently, we are thrilled to engage with some of our most steadfast supporters, Tocqueville Society, through a gathering of our members yesterday evening. Tocqueville Society members are philanthropists who have demonstrated extraordinary generosity to our community by investing $10,000 or more annually. These members make an outstanding commitment to ensuring Southern Nevadans have the opportunity to succeed. Special thanks to Ann Simmons Nicholson, Diane Carlson, Rev. Dr. Marta Poling Schmitt, Gloria Fine, Sue Lowden, and Lynn Weidner for your tremendous support of this event. We look forward to sharing more about Tocqueville Society in later editions of High Notes.

As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” We encourage you to join us and give hope to those who need it most this holiday season by visiting uwsn.org/hope.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

We hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving week! During this holiday season, we would like to express how thankful we are to all of you, our wonderful supporters, community partners, and fellow Southern Nevadans. We truly could not carry out our mission of uniting our community to improve people’s lives without your unwavering support.

We would like to show you the impact your support has had within our community over the past year through the video below.

 

As we look towards the end of the year, we would like to share ways for you to get involved during the holiday season, including joining us for the Jerusalema Dance Challenge. The Jerusalema Dance Challenge is a worldwide phenomenon that has gone viral with the goal of bringing diverse community members together in a dance that represents unity, peace, and hope during these challenging times. Click here to see UWSN participating in the Jerusalema Dance Challenge, learn how you can join, and to read more about volunteering during the holiday season.

As Amy Collette said, “Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul”. Join us and spread gratitude, joy, and hope to Southern Nevadans in our beloved community by making a gift today at uwsn.org/hope. We hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

As we celebrate the holiday season, we think about how grateful we are for you and all of the people and community leaders who have helped to provide hope throughout the year.

We are proud to announce United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) Women United has invested $195,000 in the Southern Nevada community. These funds will support an additional six local nonprofits that provide support to women and families in Southern Nevada. This investment is a continuation of the 2021 UWSN Community Impact Grant program which began with the generous support of philanthropist and Amazon co-founder, MacKenzie Scott. Click here to learn more about the six benefiting organizations.

We have been diligently working to ensure that families receive the support that they deserve by joining Congressman Steven Horsford and Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Wally Adyemo at the Child Tax Credit Roundtable to help make the Child Tax Credit permanent. We also thank Congresswoman Dina Titus’ staff members for meeting with us and showing their support of our work.

We thank Family Promise for inviting us to join their 25-year celebration. We would also like to give special recognition to our Board Member, Diane Carlson, for providing valuable training to our Fund Development Team.

As we think about all of the families who need help this holiday season, I invite you to join us and provide hope to one in four individuals in Southern Nevada. As Christopher Reeve said, “Once you choose hope, anything is possible.” We encourage you to join us and choose to give hope this holiday season at uwsn.org/hope.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

From the bottom of my heart, I wanted to thank you for your support and share some holiday inspiration. You have helped us to make a widespread impact in 2021 and provide support to one in four residents in our community.

This week, it was our honor to meet young leaders like Jennifer Ashley at Leaders in Training (LIT).  Jennifer Ashley not only received support to graduate the UNLV nursing program at LIT; she is now employed by LIT to help empower future leaders and provide support for her family. Jennifer Ashley is setting an example for her three younger siblings and empowering the next generation of future leaders.

It’s leaders like Jennifer Ashley that fuel our passion for giving back and uniting our community. We continue to collaborate and meet with Michael Brazier, President and CEO of United Way of Northern Nevada & the Sierra and the City of Las Vegas. We are helping to ensure that children receive a quality early education and individuals receive support to keep a roof over their heads.

We created a Holiday Volunteering Guide to provide opportunities to give back through volunteering, including the worldwide Jerusalema Dance Challenge phenomenon. iHeartRadio was so inspired by the Jerusalema Dance Challenge and the opportunity to win a year of Pinkbox Doughnuts, that they asked us to share the details found at uwsn.org/holiday.

We wanted to invite you to join us and help to provide hope during this holiday season. Please visit uwsn.org/hope to learn more about how just a small gift can mean so much for students like Jennifer Ashley.

There are so many inspirational stories of hope that you have helped us to create in 2021. In the words of National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, “We, becoming of the common good so there to care to be hope-sighted, never divided for when we live to give, we always live united.”

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Hello Friends, 

What an incredible week it’s been! I want to thank you for your continued support of United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) and for providing HOPE to Southern Nevadans this holiday season.

This week we had the distinct honor of visiting four of our newest community nonprofit partners and learning more about what they do to help Southern Nevadans throughout the Valley. We are proud to share that thanks to your support over the past four months, UWSN and our nonprofit partners have provided:

  • 985 students with access to a quality education
  • 779 people with job training to add to their professional skills
  • 2,747 people with community support to keep a roof over their heads, the lights on, and food on the table

Click here to read more about our community nonprofit partners.

We extend deep gratitude to our fellow community leaders that support UWSN and the important work we’re doing together throughout the region. Thank you, Diane Carlson (UWSN Board Member), for working side-by-side with our team and providing us with best practice training. We would also like to thank Boyd Gaming for their continued commitment to our United Way through the Boyd Gaming Community Room. Located on the first floor of our building, this is a wonderful space that enables collaborative conversations and events to drive solutions to our community’s greatest needs.

Lastly, we had the pleasure of meeting at Vegas PBS with our fellow nonprofits during their Nevada Week segment to discuss our Everyone Deserves Hope Campaign, made possible through the support of UWSN’s presenting sponsor, The Tapestry Foundation, and Angel Hero sponsor, The Siegel Group (through their charity, Siegel Cares). We invite you to get involved and learn how you can provide hope during this holiday season by visiting us at uwsn.org/hope.

As Mattie Stepanek said, “Unity is strength… When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful can be achieved.“ Let’s continue to achieve wonderful things for our community and provide hope this holiday season!

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Dear Friends, 

During this special holiday season, I wanted to send a personal message of gratitude to each of you (our supporters, fellow nonprofits, and community leaders). United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) is deeply grateful to be a part of this wonderful community and continue our important work together.

Since being appointed President and CEO of UWSN, I have visited numerous nonprofit partners in the community and am truly humbled by their commitment and dedication to assist Southern Nevadans. As I reflect upon this incredibly challenging year, it’s important that we continue to find ways to serve those most in need across the Las Vegas valley through the support of our 44 nonprofit partners. Learn more about our nonprofit partners at uwsn.org/everyone.

As the end of 2021 nears, our goal is to continue to provide hope to our Southern Nevada community throughout the holiday season and specifically through our Everyone Deserves Hope campaign. At the forefront of this campaign support is The Tapestry Foundation, who has demonstrated an incredible commitment to our community, and the Siegel Group (through their charity, Siegel Cares) who has continued to marvel us with their generosity. As UWSN continues to provide hope to one in four Southern Nevadans, I ask for your support by making a donation today at uwsn.org/hope.

It has been said that the true measure of a friend is seeing how they respond in the toughest moment and UWSN is truly grateful to have so many generous and caring friends. We wish you a safe and wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Dear Friend, 

On behalf of United Way of Southern Nevada, thank you for your continued support of our wonderful Southern Nevada community. As the year comes to a close, I encourage you to join us and spread HOPE to families in our community this holiday season by making your end-of-year donation TODAY at uwsn.org/hope

We wish you a safe and happy New Year and look forward to staying connected in 2022. 

Dear Friend, 

Miriam Gomez knew she wanted to go to college, but she didn't know how to get there. That's when she found Leaders in Training, a local nonprofit that helps students become the first in their families to go to college. Over the course of three years in their high school program, Miriam learned about how to apply for college, take entrance exams, get through the federal student aid application, and how to inspire the next generation of future leaders to be successful within the community. 

Thanks to your support of United Way of Southern Nevada and our nonprofit partner, Leaders in Training, we can continue to provide hope to future leaders like Miriam and encourage students to break down barriers and achieve their dream of attending college. Click here to read more about Miriam's story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Thank you for your continued support of our beloved Southern Nevada community. I encourage you to join us and spread HOPE throughout our community by making a donation today at uwsn.org/hope

Dear Friend, 

Two years ago, Luis Monsivais was living in a group home where he thought no one cared about the children. He was determined to be independent and wanted to find support to reach his goals. That's when he found El Shaddai Refuge Homes, a nonprofit dedicated to providing transitional housing for displaced people and creating a safety net for former foster kids after they age out of the system. Luis was able to receive assistance with finding housing, looking for a job, and was provided a bus pass. Luis now lives in an apartment with a roommate, works as a cashier, and spends his time helping his friends find every opportunity to succeed. 

Thanks to your support of United Way of Southern Nevada and our nonprofit partner, El Shaddai Refuge Homes, we can continue to provide young adults with the opportunity for a brighter future. Click here to read more about Luis' story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Thank you for your continued support of our beloved Southern Nevada community. I encourage you to join us and spread HOPE throughout our community by making a donation today at uwsn.org/hope

Dear Friend, 

Have you seen the statistic that millions of Americans are just one paycheck away from homelessness? While this statement—both referenced by MarketWatch and the National Alliance to End Homelessness—sounds shocking, it was sadly a recent reality for a Henderson mother.

Two years ago, Diane Parkinson was unemployed and was worried about becoming homeless; she turned to local nonprofit HopeLink for help during these challenging times. HopeLink provides services such as housing assistance, food pantry access, and a separate CareerLink service for support with job searches and building resumes. Diane is now living in temporary housing, receiving help with her resume, and is on the path to finding her career job. 

Learn more about Diane’s journey and how United Way of Southern Nevada, in partnership with HopeLink, helped her find hope in this recent feature in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stories like this one bring me absolute joy knowing that with your support, we are truly impacting families in our community.

I am grateful for your continued support of our organization helping others in the city we all call home, and I ask you to join us to spread HOPE in Las Vegas by donating today at uwsn.org/hope.

Dear Friend, 

I think we can all agree that parenting is hard. And raising children during a global pandemic is even more challenging. Las Vegas mom Bianca faced a situation that many parents sometimes do, she was at her wits’ end and heavily struggled to keep her mental health afloat. Bianca shares that she felt like she was going to burst with “the stress of being a single mom, with COVID and trying to maintain school and grades and work by myself.”

Bianca found hope through Boys Town Nevada, a UWSN community funded partner. With this nonprofit, Bianca finally felt like she had a place to turn to for support. Discover how Boys Town Nevada helped her learn how to be a successful parent—with support and advice she needed during situations she didn’t know how to handle—in this recent Las Vegas Review-Journal story.

It is through real stories like Bianca’s that illuminate how United Way of Southern Nevada’s partner organizations like Boys Town Nevada truly impact Las Vegas families. If her journey—and how Boys Town Nevada helped her learn to love herself—inspired you, won’t you consider donating to bring HOPE to others in our community at uwsn.org/hope? Local parents and families need our support today.

Dear Friend, 

Because of support from community heroes like you, we are thrilled to share that we raised $407,091 from our “Everyone Deserves Hope” campaign! These funds will go to help Southern Nevadans stay in their homes, provide for their families, and assist students to graduate and succeed. I am amazed at these results and eternally thankful to all of our supporters for continuing to meet the growing needs in our community.

Did you know that UWSN has massively expanded our community impact grant program—including funding more than six times the number of non-profit organizations? With this vast increase, we can help more people than ever and focus on diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. I am very passionate about our commitments within these areas and applaud our 44 funded organizations for their work to support Southern Nevadans.

We also are beyond grateful for the support from local and national companies who have committed to giving the gift of hope to Southern Nevadans, including UWSN’s Presenting Sponsor, The Tapestry Foundation, and our Angel Hero Sponsor, The Siegel Group (through their charity, Siegel Cares). We also thank the generosity of NV Energy, Barclays US Consumer Bank, Kichler, and Charles Schwab. And thank you for the support and generosity you have shown in bringing hope to our community.

Dear Friend, 

What a week for our beloved city— from the NHL All-Star Weekend to the NFL Pro Bowl, it was an extraordinary sports weekend for Las Vegas! This coming from someone who doesn’t know the difference between a field goal or a touchdown. It is an exciting time to live in this Valley that we love to support and call home.

I had the honor of attending the Annual NFL Hall of Fame Pro Bowl Reception on February 3rd, hosted by legendary quarterback Warren Moon at Lawry’s Prime Rib. I was moved by Warren Moon’s dedication to supporting our youth and future leaders from organizations such as T.U.L.I.P.S. and Leaders in Training (LIT), two of United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) community partners who were also in attendance this evening. Through the generosity of Warren Moon, we were able to raise funds that allow us to continue to support our nonprofit community partners such as T.U.L.I.P.S and LIT. Please check out Warren Moon's appearance on The Morning Blend, where he shares his goal "to raise as much money as we can for UWSN."

Another important way that UWSN demonstrates its commitment to Southern Nevada is by partnering with Clark County to distribute federal funding for Emergency Food and Shelter Programs (EFSP). There is now over $5.8 million in federal funds available through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. Read this Las Vegas Review-Journal story to learn more about the program; the newly-extended deadline for organizations to apply for funding here is Monday, February 14, 2022 at 5 PM.

Thank you again for your continued support of our incredible community. It takes all of us coming together to ensure that every person in Southern Nevada has the opportunity to succeed.

Dear Friend, 

Black History Month is very important to me, and I was honored to be a part of two different initiatives this week to celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to our society and culture. On Wednesday, we had a nonprofit sector documentary pre-screening of The Skin You’re In with the Executive Writer and Producer, Dr. Thomas LaVeist. Together, we explored barriers the Black Community faces regarding health and wellness in our nation.

Yesterday, United Way of Southern Nevada hosted a riveting panel discussion during our Nonprofit Sector Call to celebrate Black History Month. Will Rucker from Compassionate Las Vegas led a panel to discuss The Skin You’re In—including Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman, Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson from UNLV’s School of Public Health, and meDuring the discussion, I was proud to share what Black History Month means to me and how we can collaborate to create a more equitable community for all. In the next volume of High Notes, I will share more about my personal journey and perspective on the importance of Black History Month. 

Happy Black History Month!

Dear Friend, 

While March is known for springtime, Women's History Month, and March Madness, I wanted to take the time to reflect on last month's celebration of Black History Month in today’s High Notes. So please join me as I do so in my premier blog postReflections on Poinciana, Ahmad Jamal, the end of Black History Month, and your United Way of Southern Nevada at uwsn.org/julian. I share my thoughts on some of my inspirations, as well as detail how I was out in the community in celebration of African American contributions to our great nation.

You might note that today's edition of High Notes is the first in two weeks. Did you miss my weekly musings about UWSN and our amazing community? This is because I needed the opportunity and time to catalog my thoughts on the meaningful happenings—for Black History Month and in interacting with those in our community who UWSN has the honor to serve. Again, thank you for your support of our mission, and please do connect if my musings struck a note within you.

Pax,

Julian High
President and CEO
United Way of Southern Nevada

Dear Friend, 

United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) had the honor to host an incredible evening for members of our Tocqueville Society last week: an aptly named Exquisite Dinner with Global Wine Pairings. After a welcome from Tocqueville Society co-chairs, Diane Carlson and Marta Poling Schmitt, guests had the opportunity to hear from UWSN’s Director of Donor Relationships, Brett McAnnany, as he guided attendees through an inspirational wine experience and chef-curated menu.

As Brett spoke, he also shared his personal journey that ultimately brought him to UWSN. Brett came to join the UWSN team after a storied career as a Key Accounts Director with Southern Glazier Wine and Spirits – which makes him a fitting sommelier to lead us through this experience. Before he shared details on the four wines, he spoke about his parents and their life-long devotion to each other, their family, and the Las Vegas community. Inspired by his parents, Brett shifted his career focus to the non-profit sector when he joined the UWSN family last year.

Brett’s story is just one of many Southern Nevadans. He serves in gratitude for the gifts bestowed upon him by our beloved community and is dedicated to helping ensure that every person in Southern Nevada has the opportunity to succeed. Of the many places Brett’s journey has taken him, I am happy to say that UWSN is one of them and that Brett is part of our team. He is out in our community, sharing our message of hope and raising funds to support the work of UWSN. I want to offer the highest praise for those in our Tocqueville Society, it was indeed an exquisite evening. These philanthropists demonstrate extraordinary generosity by investing $10,000 or more annually to UWSN. To learn more about our Tocqueville Society, please click here.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Pax,

Julian High
President and CEO
United Way of Southern Nevada

Dear Friends, 

Congress declared March as Women's History Month in 1987; since then, we have honored women's contributions throughout American history. I want to take this opportunity to spotlight several women who have impacted our community with their leadership and service.

United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN) is proud to have three dynamic women on our Executive Leadership Team. Our COO, Kelly Shaw is an innovative leader in the non-profit sector; she provides strategic direction and encourages private and public support for UWSN. Terri Rencher, VP of Human Resources, stepped in as interim COO during an organizational transformation and has since led HR and helped shape the culture within our team. Senior Director of Fund Development, Audrey Daley, has the vital task of overseeing relationships with corporate donors to make critical community investments.

In my role, I am honored to consistently meet women who are making considerable strides in Southern Nevada. For example, last week, I visited Lutheran Social Services of Nevada—a funded partner of UWSN that is led by Executive Director Armena Mkhitaryan. LSSN's mission is to "express the love of Christ by serving and caring for people in need." I also attended the Cultural Diversity Foundation's Educational Taste of Excellence benefit. Dr. Joni Flowers is the group's Founder, President, and Executive Director; her organization's goal is to empower our community through education.

March is the month to celebrate incredible women—including Ms. Mkhitaryan, Dr. Flowers, and all the women serving their community on the UWSN team—whose efforts make our city, country, and world a better place. Please join me in celebrating the women in our lives who make a significant impact!

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Pax,

Julian High
President and CEO
United Way of Southern Nevada
 

Dear Friend, 

I am elated to share something that has been in the works for quite a while—six and a half decades, to be precise. This year, United Way of Southern Nevada celebrates its 65th anniversary of making meaningful impact in our community. Today, it is my honor to kick off a year of celebratory events and initiatives, and you are cordially invited to join us for community-wide festivities. UWSN started out as United Fund of Clark County our first year. We were humbled to serve 55,000 then. And now, UWSN and our funded community partners are proud to impact 1 in 4 Southern Nevadans across the valley.

This is a very personal commemoration of our organization’s impact in Las Vegas. We’ve been doing this since before “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. UWSN has been doing this since before the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign greeted visitors, before the extraordinary group of entrepreneurs and business leaders opened the majority of Las Vegas Boulevard’s world-class resorts and casinos, and before professional sports teams like the Vegas Golden Knights and the Las Vegas Raiders brought major league excitement to our city. Please watch the video below to learn more about our 65th anniversary celebration: 

 

Want a preview of what’s in store as we celebrate this thrilling milestone? Next month, we will begin with our Golf United Tournament at the Revere Golf Club. Then, we will host the community’s largest volunteer opportunity in the autumn—Day of Caring. Our celebration will culminate with our spectacular Legends Ball, uniting and honoring local leaders who have played an instrumental role in the growth and transformation of the community. You can learn more about these signature events and how you can join this community-wide celebration at uwsn.org/65.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Dear Friend, 

Last week, we launched the celebration of our 65th-anniversary. 65 years is a long time to show up in support of this community, and we are honored and humbled to do so! We are beginning this journey with you with a sense of purpose and humility. Join me in saying “fore” on May 26th at the Revere Golf Club in Henderson for our first signature anniversary celebratory event called "Golf United," celebrating 65 years of our work in the community and honoring the legends and lions—here in Southern Nevada.

While I’m no Tiger Woods, I fully intend to be there and host you in my United Way Masters finery, settled among the beautifully manicured greens and fantastic views of the Las Vegas strip. It is going to be a glorious event indeed!

I encourage you to put your foursomes together and in doing so, demonstrate that you stand with UWSN in helping those most in need. Trust me when I say that we begin bright and early with check-in at 6:30 am and a shotgun start at 8:00 am. We are honored that KLUC’s Chet Buchanan will be emceeing our awards luncheon.
 
Here's the thing—the 65th-Anniversary Golf United Tournament is our kickoff event, and we need our community to show up and show out in support of UWSN. We have been doing this since before Tiger Woods became the first player to win four consecutive major golf championships, and with your support, UWSN will continue to serve people in the community for years to come. Please register today and meet me on the green at the Revere Golf Club on May 26th for our kickoff celebratory event.

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.
 

Dear Friend, 

A week from today, we celebrate Earth Day. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Mother Earth than an upcoming event with our funded partner Green Our Planet. This beloved local non-profit teaches students to love and care for our planet through comprehensive STEM school garden and hydroponics programs throughout the United States. Next Friday, April 22nd, join us at Green Our Planet’s Giant Student Farmers Market from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Downtown Summerlin.

While we are on the topic of Green Our Planet, I was recently thrilled to attend the organization’s Secret Garden Party soirée. During this event at GreenGale Farms, Don and Dee Snyder made a $25,000 commitment to support Green Our Planet, the Don and Dee Snyder Elementary School, and United Way of Southern Nevada. I want to express my deep gratitude and sincere appreciation for the Snyders’ extraordinary generosity and their longtime support of UWSN. They are an exemplary example of leaders who strive for the betterment of our community and have created lasting change for years to come. We are honored to be a long-standing beneficiary of their support.

As I reflect on Don and Dee Snyder’s leadership in the community, I cannot help but think about United Way of Southern Nevada’s 65th anniversary. As I have mentioned, we will host the Legend’s and Lion’s Ball in October to honor those men and women like the Snyders’ who have dedicated their lives to making our community a better place. I am humbled to think about this spirit of generosity and investment in Las Vegas, and I hope you will join us in celebration at signature events throughout the year. Learn more: uwsn.org/65

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

Dear Friend, 

When I joined United Way of Southern Nevada last autumn, one of the questions I received the most was, “Why should I donate to UWSN when I can donate my money directly to my charity of choice?” There are so many reasons to support the many funded community partners that we work with—and your donation goes to helping Las Vegans across a wide variety of vetted non-profit organizations. You can support a multitude of incredible causes across our community while knowing your money reaches one in four Southern Nevadans. We have been doing this since 1957 - before what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. 

This week, my team had the inspirational opportunity to tour one of these such community partners, El Shaddai Refuge Homes CDC. An organization dedicated to assisting those displaced in the Las Vegas valley, its primary objective is to combat and prevent homelessness. This community development corporation offers its clientele housing, case management, transportation, childcare, food, clothing, and life skills training. During our visit, we experienced first-hand how this UWSN-funded community partner makes a meaningful impact on people in Las Vegas.

El Shaddai supports people like Taylor, a youth aging out of the foster care system. Through funding from UWSN, Taylor gained skills and training to discover what type of career path to take. With expertise and training from the El Shaddai Refuge Homes program, Taylor is now a childcare worker and prepared for the next phase of life. Our visit inspired me and my team. I hope you can see how impactful your collective dollars can and are effecting a myriad of community programs. Through support from people like you, UWSN and our funded community partners can make lasting contributions to Southern Nevadans. I continue to be humbled, inspired, grateful, and not ashamed to say... we have been doing this since 1957. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for caring.

JULIAN'S BLOG

Follow along Julian’s journey to connect local families and individuals with the resources that they need to succeed.

Reflections on Poinciana, Ahmad Jamal, the end of Black History Month, and your United Way of Southern Nevada

The previous month of celebrating the moments, the people, and the legacy of the African American community has been one of the most profound ones of my life. Yet, as I craft this message, my mind keeps drifting back to the elegance of "delonix regia" or the royal poinciana. The poinciana is a beautiful flowering tree native to Madagascar, typically found in the tropics and sub-tropics. These trees live a beautiful and intense life, usually dying by the time they are forty years old.

Although I am a semi-serious creator of floral designs, I do not claim to be knowledgeable in the science of horticulture. In this case, my education comes from my latest musical obsession found in the wonderful song Poinciana written by Nat Simon and made internationally famous by Ahmad Jamal—a pianist, composer, conductor, and entrepreneur. Born Frederick Russell Jones, Mr. Jamal went on to international acclaim with his version of his signature song. My dedication to jazz is rooted in my past as a son of the Historic Westside of Las Vegas, where I grew up listening to the Jimmy Smith, Bobby Blue Bland, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn, and many other African American jazz musicians. I learned about these legends at the knee of my father, Sam High Jr., who was as dedicated to jazz music as he was to baseball…and my brother and me.  In my early years, I was never exposed to Ahmad Jamal. But, in the discovery of Mr. Jamal's Poinciana—in February of 2022 while celebrating Black History Month as the recently appointed President and CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada—I know all is well with my father in heaven and in the sacred moments I've been able to celebrate Black History month this year. Being out and about in our beloved city doing the business of United Way is soul-fulfilling and personally gratifying even on my worst day. Perhaps because I am settling into my role here and becoming more aware of the awesome responsibility, legacy, and history of ordinary and extraordinary people we celebrate during February, Black History Month came into a clearer, more profound focus for me. 

Looking back in abundant gratitude for this year and all of the contributions of my African American heroes and sheroes, it is not lost on me that in every moment leading up to UWSN's United for Equity Black History Month panel—featuring my friends Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman, Will Rucker of Compassionate LV, Dr. Melva Thompson Robinson from UNLV, and the executive writer and producer of the film The Skin You're In, Dr. Thomas LaVeist—I found hope and inspiration in the song Poinciana as written and performed by Mr. Jamal in Paris in 2012.  
While we do not usually watch television in our home, we have been regular visitors to YouTube to watch Live from Emmet's Place. This online offering showcases the Emmet Cohen Trio. My friend Emmet and his bandmates Kyle Poole and Russell Hall created this show at the beginning of the pandemic in response to everything shutting down in New York City. The trio kept me and my husband Michael entertained and grounded in those terrifying early months. The band sat out one performance during the George Floyd trial in solidarity with Mr. Floyd's family, with hope wrapped in despair during the proceedings. 

It was during this period I stumbled upon this song performed by Mr. Jamal. I was on the hunt for something to replace my weekly EC Trio timeslot of YouTube, and the universe ordained I would find this hopeful, optimistic, and internationally best-selling version of Mr. Jamal's song, Poinciana. It was not a hopeful or optimistic time for me. I was angry, distraught, and concerned about the impact this moment would have on our country. I listened to the song one time during the summer of malcontent and moved my energy back to what was happening across America. Later, I lost touch with the song only to be reunited with it after the George Floyd trial had ended.  

The rediscovery of this song is a tremendous symbolic lesson that hope and progress may sometimes feel elusive. Still, all we must do is look up and away from our despair and see the power and potential in every moment and experience. I carried this perspective and joy with me throughout our Black History Month celebrations. It is a perspective that informs every meeting and event I attend as the first African American President and CEO of UWSN. And I don't walk this journey alone. And neither did Mr. Jamal in creating his international best-selling song.    
And my journey took me full circle in February back to Chaparral High School, where I was student body president in 1986. I went there to speak to a group of students who are members of Jobs for Nevada Graduates, often referred to as J4NG. There were approximately fifteen kids in this small classroom—all brown or black like me. After telling my story and sharing with the students that although I know people may think my story was an unlikely one, I was there to tell them otherwise. I emphasized that everything I am today was formed in the halls they now walk. I asked them to do whatever their hearts desire, as long as they contribute to the common good. 

At the end of our time, I asked the students to do me one more favor. I requested that they take our time together as a symbol of hope and respect in the same way one would take the love of a parent with one on all of life's journeys.  It took some courage-building to exhibit this kind of tenderness in this speech, where my job was to deliver inspiration and confidence. However, the dividends of love and understanding I received at that moment are something I will carry with me forever. We are so lucky at UWSN to help fund programs like J4NG. That our organization is the beneficiaries of Las Vegas' generosity is never lost on me.

Another highlight of Black History Month was the installation of officers hosted by the Urban Chamber of Commerce when I was humbled to see Shaundell Newsome sworn in as Chairman of the Board. Shaundell is someone I've enjoyed getting to know since joining UWSN. He has become one of my living heroes because of his extraordinary commitment to the Chamber, Black entrepreneurship, and his understanding of the positive power of capitalism. 
An added benefit of this time spent with my African American business brothers and sisters was hearing Jeremy Aguerro, a principal analyst with Applied Analysis. He connected the dots of how through intentional action, the Raiders were able to partner with minority- and women-owned businesses in building and operating the most successful football stadium in the NFL. There is an incredible story in the data Jeremy shared with the group. It was an absolute pleasure to hear and see the enthusiasm of my fellow Las Vegas native talking about the Raiders and his hometown. Fun fact: Jeremy's family came to Southern Nevada in the early 1900s, predating my own parents' 1950s arrival to the valley.

A more recent transplant to our beloved city comes as Mr. Lewis Jordan takes the helm as the newly appointed Executive Director of the Southern Nevada Housing Authority. He and his lovely wife have moved to Las Vegas from Marin County, and I recall remarking to his wife that service comes with many sacrifices. I left the reception grateful to know another capable African American man has joined us here in Las Vegas as we embark on a journey of meaningful and impactful change in this place we love to call home.
And as I close on my reflections, I want to again thank NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon, who hosted a magical dinner during the Pro Bowl weekend. Many notable Hall of Fame players attended this sold-out event, as well as students from Leaders in Training (LIT) and T.U.L.I.P.S. We are grateful to provide support to both student achievement groups. United Way of Southern Nevada walked away from the event with a significant gift from Mr. Moon's endeavors on our behalf. We join the rest of the chorus singing loudly in hopes the Pro Bowl comes back to Las Vegas next year and for many more to come. 

As I sign off, the music from Mr. Jamal's Poinciana fades slowly, the Elvis version of You'll Never Walk Alone comes up next on my playlist. My father is smiling in heaven as I reflect on a meaningful Black History Month and the work of the United Way of Southern Nevada. 

STAY CONNECTED

To stay connected with Julian’s journey in the coming weeks, please send an email to Marketing@uwsn.org to subscribe to “High Notes,” a weekly communication from Julian, outlining his strategy for uniting Southern Nevadans to better the community together. 

Meet Our President and CEO: Julian High