The Vegas Inc Angel Awards honors some of Southern Nevada’s most philanthropic individuals and organizations. Each honoree is passionate about making our community a place where everyone can thrive. Collectively, they have dedicated countless volunteer hours and millions of dollars to uplift and inspire members of our community who are often most vulnerable—and they have encouraged others to do the same.
As you read about these charitable leaders, you may be inspired to consider the ways you can help the community as well and you will find actionable steps in their stories. Volunteer of the Year, Margaret Batts, shared a list of volunteer opportunities that ranged from getting involved with a local PTO or HOA to donating supplies to a charity of your choice. There are hundreds of nonprofits in the Las Vegas Valley that help thousands of individuals every year and you can get involved too.
The 2023 Vegas Inc Angel Awards originally appeared in a special issue of Vegas Inc’s Giving Guide. Sign up to get each of Vegas Inc’s special publications delivered to your inbox on the day of their release.
Cultural Advocate of the Year: Corey Fagan
Cultural Advocate of the Year Corey Fagan is executive director of the First Friday Foundation. First Friday, best known locally for the arts and culture festival held on the namesake Friday of every month, also supports local mental health initiatives and education.
Fagan is passionate about using art to benefit the community, especially by bringing art and culture to local schools. She has been instrumental in installing murals in school hallways and holding events for students. As young people find solace and healing in art, they can also find opportunity to express themselves. The First Friday Foundation provides space for young and emerging artists to exhibit and market their skills while contributing to the cultural background of the city. The First Friday event is an opportunity for community members to experience and appreciate the melting pot of many of the cultures and lifestyles present in Las Vegas.
The foundation is very collaborative and partners with community businesses and organizations to form outreach efforts for those struggling with mental and physical health. These programs help individuals find community and wellness. Fagan herself believes in supporting and contributing to other members of the community to strengthen the bonds and lift and inspire individuals. Of her work she said, “Creative culture is necessary. It breaks down the barriers of difference and allows for conversation, interpretation, and is often a bridge to understanding.”
Nonprofit of the Year: Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation
The Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, established in 1993, provides care and assistance through more than 40 programs for children and families who battle with cancer diagnoses and the ramifications every day. In the 30 years since its inception, the foundation has expanded to include services of all kinds for critically ill children, education services, and support for adults with cancer. Programs for these individuals include social, emotional, educational, financial and psychological support services. Every year the NVCCF serves more than 1,000 Southern Nevadans who have been affected by cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, renal, blood, and immunologic diseases.
A highlight for foundation volunteers and beneficiaries is the annual Camp Cartwheel at Torino Ranch. Every year since 1996, the NVCCF has welcomed more than 200 children to a medically supervised overnight summer camp where children experiencing life-threatening illnesses and their siblings, along with children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer, can enjoy fun activities and community with individuals experiencing similar circumstances.
Unaffiliated with any national organizations, the NVCCF depends on the local community to support its mission. President and CEO Jeff Gordon said, “We are amazed at the love and generosity that exist here in Las Vegas as it pertains to giving. With the diverse population that is Southern Nevada, we are very fortunate to have so many that make it their priority to make this a true community of giving and positive impact for those in need.”
Volunteer of the Year: Margaret Batts
Margaret Batts has spent not just her entire career but her entire life in service to the community. At age 14, she joined the hospital candy stripers and has centered her pride and identity on her volunteering ever since.
Of her volunteerism she said, “It helps me to make new friends and contacts. It ties me to my community.” By Batts’ definition, a community is a place where “individuals can come together to support one another, address challenges and develop solutions.”
In her work to build and strengthen the charitable fabric of Southern Nevada, Batts has been a staunch advocate for women of color, veterans and civil rights. She has volunteered as a national opinion survey taker and national petition signer, been a mentor for young women, donated to Saint Jude’s Ranch for Children and fed the homeless. She cares about making local and national communities better through service.
Through her more than 30 years of medical field experience in her career, Batts taught medical front office procedures, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical coding, OSHA and HIPPA regulations, customer service skills, medical record abstracting, medical assisting and many other subjects. Her work touched the lives of more than 700 students.
Batts is happily married, has four sons and is a member of Victory Baptist church.
Foundation of the Year: Corner4Success Charitable Foundation
Seeking to improve the lives and outlook of young people, Corner4Success Charitable Foundation serves girls in Southern Nevada who need community support. Through advocacy work, mentoring programs and hosting fundraising events, the foundation strives to uplift and empower girls and young women.
Corner4Success Charitable Foundation emphasizes the importance of fostering resilience and empathy, and encouraging a more compassionate, equitable society. Additionally, the foundation uses different art mediums to help reach these goals.
“We recognize that artistic expression transcends barriers, ignites inspiration and promotes emotional well-being. Through promoting and supporting the arts, we cultivate creativity, cultural understanding and personal growth,” said Amie Jo Greer, president, founder and CEO of Corner4Success Charitable Foundation.
One of the foundation’s cornerstone programs is the C4S GIRLS Club, which serves to empower at-risk young women. The club acronym stands for Goals, Integrity, Respect, Leadership and Self-Esteem—the principles that Greer says girls need today.
“The club is not just a program, it is a lifeline,” Greer said.
Philanthropic Business of the Year (SME): Claggett & Sykes Law Firm
For nearly 20 years, Claggett & Sykes Law Firm has been contributing to the philanthropic landscape of Las Vegas through extensive community involvement.
Claggett & Sykes is a local law firm specializing in personal injury cases. Partner and founder Sean Claggett is a Las Vegas native and believes in the power of community to meet the unique needs of the people living in Southern Nevada. He said, “One good deed to one person can result in 10 good deeds to 10 other people, and the more we all work at doing good for others, the community becomes a beautiful place.”
The firm is not only committed to helping their clients in the courtroom, often at vulnerable moments in their lives, it is dedicated to helping those in need in the community. In addition to their monetary donations and partnerships—of which there are many—Claggett & Sykes compensates its employees to volunteer each month at a charity of their choice. The firm will even make donations in support of employees’ philanthropic passions.
Projects and nonprofits that benefit from a partnership with Claggett & Sykes include HELP of Southern Nevada, The Just One Farmers Market, the Shannon West Homeless Youth Shelter, Three Square Food Bank, The Candlelighters, Grant a Gift, Boys & Girls Club, and the Shade Tree.
Humanitarian of the Year: Deacon Thomas Roberts
Deacon Thomas Roberts has led and served Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada day in and day out for 10 years. Roberts has overseen a major increase in community organization. Through his dedication to the community and his ability to connect with individuals, the number of people served, volunteers and staff members have all increased.
Roberts and his team of front-line service providers were able remain open and operational through every day of the pandemic and beyond. As Roberts describes, CCSN is “often the place of last resort for the hungry, homeless and disenfranchised who struggle with anxiety and fear. CCSN aims to serve those in greatest need with listening, empathy and resources to help improve their quality of life.”
To do this, CCSN provides 16 programs that provide support and resources to thousands of individuals across Southern Nevada. They care for the marginalized and disadvantaged in our community with a variety of services. The Meals on Wheels program provides food for individuals (and their pets) who are experiencing food insecurity, 120 St. Vincent Apartments provide shelter at below-market rent to struggling individuals, and thousands of refugees have received the resources needed to assimilate to a new home.
Philanthropic Business of the Year (Large): Intermountain Health
Intermountain Health is a not-for-profit health system that is dedicated to helping people live healthy lives and improving the wellness of communities. As such, Intermountain has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to philanthropic work that continues to shape the future of Southern Nevada.
Partnering with different nonprofits and other charitable organizations, Intermountain has sought to improve health care, education, children’s causes and more. It has helped support UNLV’s expansion of high-need specialty care options, including obstetrics and gynecology, and behavioral health. Intermountain helped raise $3.5 million for the Tyler Robinson Foundation to provide resources for pediatric care patients. It partners with The Defensive Line, an organization striving to prevent suicide; SafeNest, working to protect individuals affected by domestic violence; and has initiated a robust employee volunteer program to help further expand philanthropic efforts in the community. All while treating patients across more than 60 clinics in the Valley.
Intermountain also rolled out its 90-Day Medical Assistant program, creating career opportunities and helping fortify the health care infrastructure with more medical technicians. The three-month program was developed in partnership with Goodwill of Southern Nevada and NV Careers to provide unemployed and underemployed members of the community with training to enter the health care industry.
The organization’s mission statement is, “helping people live the healthiest lives possible,” and through a holistic approach to health, community and wellness, Intermountain is doing just that.