When Stacey Wedding founded the annual Nevada’s Big Give, she had one goal in mind: To make charitable giving easy and accessible for all. “The whole point is to come together as a statewide community and show that we, the residents of Nevada, care about our communities and the causes that are important to us,” says Wedding, also founder and CEO of Professionals in Philanthropy.
This online crowdfunding event, accepting donations March 19 through 24 this year, has proved a widespread success. The public awareness surrounding the event allows nonprofit organizations across Nevada — including The Smith Center for the Performing Arts — to educate community members about their services and missions.
“No gift is too large or too small,” Wedding emphasizes. “Philanthropy is a great equalizer. It is something all of us benefit from, and something any of us can do.”
As a nonprofit, The Smith Center relies on philanthropic support to provide its many services, which extend beyond the performances in its theaters. Many are aware that The Smith Center presents hundreds of music, theater and dance shows each year, including the best of Broadway productions like “Hamilton,” with charitable contributions keeping ticket prices accessible for all. But The Smith Center also serves many other roles, including providing year-round education and outreach initiatives impacting over 500,000 Southern Nevada students and teachers — all offered at no cost to schools. These efforts include student matinees, in-school performances, classroom residencies with professional teaching artists, as well as The Smith Center’s Disney Musicals in Schools program helping under-resourced elementary schools create sustainable theater programs.
The Smith Center also created the annual Nevada High School Musical Theater Awards, which provides high school performers with the opportunity to train with top industry professionals. Two winners of the event also go to New York City to compete in the national high school musical theater awards and perform on a Broadway stage, with The Smith Center covering all of the costs of their multi-day trip. “The Smith Center is a tremendous gift,” Wedding says. “Growing up here when our population was only 250,000 and there was little culture, I didn’t even consider the possibilities of enjoying a world-class performing arts center. Even to this day, I pinch myself when coming to The Smith Center.”
The Smith Center also serves as a hub for community gatherings and special events. Support from community members helps to make all of this possible. As The Smith Center’s ticket sales cover 75 percent of the overall cost of operations, philanthropic support provides the remaining 25 percent. Noting that every contribution makes a difference, Wedding encourages Southern Nevadans to take advantage of Nevada’s Big Give to help Southern Nevada’s nonprofits grow and thrive.
“Just like we all came together to make The Smith Center a reality, Nevada’s Big Give is an opportunity to demonstrate Nevada’s giving spirit,” she says.
Participate in Nevada’s Big Give
Nevada’s Big Give is powered by NevadaGIVES and United Way of Southern Nevada. Donations for Nevada’s Big Give will be accepted March 19 through 24 this year – to show support for The Smith Center during this event, click here.
BOX OFFICE AND PATRON SERVICES
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361 Symphony Park Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89106