The holiday season is a time to reflect and feel gratitude for how fortunate we are, and to use this gratitude to inspire us to give back to those in more vulnerable positions. This has never been truer than this year, when the pain in our communities is perhaps more palpable than ever. One of our company’s core values is to positively contribute to the communities in which we operate. In this spirit, we are thrilled to announce the 4th annual Reef Grant recipients.
We set up our annual Reef Grants program to provide much-needed financial assistance around the holidays. Reef Grants are cash allocations that to go toward projects or causes nominated by members of our team. This year we received a record-breaking 29 submissions from our team, of which an all-time high nineteen have been awarded grants. This year’s recipients include non-profit organizations and employee community service projects in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. We are proud to announce the recipients of our fourth annual Reef Grants program:
Las Vegas Rescue Mission (Las Vegas, NV): Founded in 1970, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission (LVRM) started with a small storefront building that could house a few men. Today, LVRM campus takes up two city blocks in downtown Las Vegas, helping hundreds of men, women and their children daily, and provides approximately 30,000 meals each month. Reef Dispensary locations in southern Nevada again partnered with the Las Vegas Rescue Mission for our customer/employee food drive this holiday season, and this grant will help supercharge our efforts.
United Food Bank (Mesa, AZ): Another of our local holiday food drive partners, United Food has been providing hunger relief to people in need in the East Valley and eastern Arizona for more than 35 years. As a Feeding America member food bank, they collect, acquire, store and distribute food and related commodities to more than 220 partner agencies, serving over 228,000 people in five counties. In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the food bank projects it will distribute nearly 29 million pounds of food (24 million meals) this year.
Food Bank of Northern Nevada (Sparks, NV): Our Northern Nevada Reef Dispensary locations’ holiday food drive partner, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada provides emergency food services to families through a network of more than 147 partner agencies in a 90,000 square mile service area throughout northern Nevada and the eastern slope of the sierra in California.
Tooele Community Resource Center (Tooele, UT): This organization seeks to empower families and individuals in need by addressing the underlying causes of their poverty and providing each client with a personalized, comprehensive plan that supports them. Among their services, they operate a food pantry, a domestic violence shelter, and a housing rental assistance program. Kristy from our Utah production lab shared that “Tooele is a great city with great people but not a lot of resources for those in need.”
Las Vegas NORML (Las Vegas, NV): Las Vegas NORML is a grassroots non-profit organization working to educate the local community, reform marijuana laws and protect responsible cannabis consumers in Las Vegas and greater Nevada. Samantha from our corporate legal team submitted this organization to aid in their work advocating for criminal justice reform, expanding rights for consumers, and promoting an equitable and inclusive industry.
Merging Vets & Players (Nationwide): MVP empowers combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off; providing them with a new team to assist with transition, promote personal development, and show them they are never alone. Edward, part of our Las Vegas security team, has volunteered with this organization for 3+ years and attests to the life-changing impact that it has on veterans of our armed forces.
Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center (Las Vegas, NV): The grassroots organization unites day laborers, domestic workers, and other low-wage and migrant workers and their mission is to develop, educate, and empower worker and migrant communities to take action to defend their rights as workers and migrants.
Donor Network of Arizona (Phoenix, AZ): Donor Network of Arizona (a Donate Life organization) is Arizona’s federally designated, nonprofit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ, eye and tissue donation for transplantation. When our packaging team member Deborah’s family experienced the unimaginable loss of her two year old grandson in December 2019, DNA help facilitate the donation of his organs to help three other children. “It helped our family, knowing that he could help keep others from experiencing our pain and loss,” she shared. We’re happy to help keep his memory alive with this grant to help raise awareness and motivate the public to become organ, tissue and eye donors.
Safe Embrace(Sparks, NV): Our Sparks dispensary manager Javier has seen how difficult it can be for victims of domestic violence to find the help that they need. That’s why he is passionate about our support for Safe Embrace, a local organization that provides compassionate and trauma-informed services to individuals suffering from current or past domestic abuse, sexual violence and/or human trafficking.
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (Phoenix, AZ): SARRC is an internationally recognized nonprofit that conducts innovative research, provides evidence-based practices, disseminates effective training and builds inclusive communities for individuals with autism and their families. Another of our Phoenix store managers, Michael, has seen first hand how their programs have benefitted his autistic younger brother.
BlindConnect (Las Vegas, NV): BlindConnect offers information and services to Nevada’s blind and visually impaired population through skills training, support group, and other valuable information/resources. Whether due to illness, accident or genetics, vision impairment impacts the way a person must live their life. BlindConnect exists to provide visually impaired Nevadans the resources and knowledge they need to make their lives more fulfilling.
Life’s worth living foundation (Tooele, UT): Founded in 2014 in response to a spate of suicides in Tooele, the Life’s Worth Living Foundation was created to raise awareness of, educate on, and prevent suicide. There can be a stigma associated with seeking help, but as our team member who submitted this grant application noted, “talking to someone can make all the difference.”
Rise Up and Praise Him (North Las Vegas, NV): This local organization hosts an annual performing arts workshop for children aged 7-19, designed to encourage creative learning in performing arts. Workshops are based around improving self-esteem, motivation, leadership, and standing up to peer pressure.
Hearts Alive Village (Las Vegas, NV): Hearts Alive Village, a nonprofit organization, was founded in the heart of Las Vegas, Nevada, because of an intense need to help save dogs and cats from losing their lives in an overcrowded shelter system. Their adoption centers and foster homes continue to provide a safe haven for pets to heal while awaiting their new home. Our retail coordinator Samantha adopted her cat ‘Dabs’ from them, and she says that they deserve recognition for their work making lives better for all the creatures they work with, people and animals alike.
Home Fur Good (Phoenix, AZ): Our Northwest Phoenix dispensary manager Adam has found that in a tough year, animals are a fantastic way to boost our moods. The staff and volunteers at Home Fur Good strive to give its animals a clean and comfortable place to sleep, nutritious food to eat, excellent medical care, adequate daily exercise, and an overdose of love and affection. Everyone works hard to find each cat and dog a ‘fur’ever home that best meets the animal’s needs, as well as the prospective adopter’s needs.
Make ‘Em Smile Foundation (Reno, NV): This organization was founded by a local artist who saw a need for energetic, nonprofit work in the Northern Nevada area. In addition to their annual holiday tour drive, they work throughout the year to connect the community and make change. Jasmine, who leads our Sparks store’s inventory control team, also enjoys Make ‘Em Smile’s annual fundraising event which includes art, comedy, and live music from local artists.
The Aloha Ohana / Sub for Santa (Tooele, UT): The Aloha Ohana is an effort led by local businesses to raise funds for United Way of Utah County’s Sub for Santa, which coordinates with local schools and nonprofits to provide holiday gifts for children in Utah County.
In addition to these great organizations, we provided two Reef Grants for projects organized by members of our team to directly distribute items such as non-perishable foods, hand sanitizer, gloves & socks, hygiene products, and more in our communities.