Las Vegas Nonprofits Fear Foundation’s Departure

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March 7, 2011; Source: Las Vegas Review Journal | Nonprofits in Las Vegas that depended on the support of the Lincy Foundation can only dream they'll still get a grant from financier Kirk Kerkorian's charity. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, subject to approval of the California Attorney General, the foundation is planning to transfer all its $200 million assets to create what's being called the Dream Fund at UCLA.

Local nonprofits, already struggling because of recession-induced drops in donations, fear the foundation's departure and loss of potential grants will cause them more distress. In 2008, the last year for which tax filings are available, the Lincy Foundation donated more than $29 million to Las Vegas groups.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block says local charities and nonprofits shouldn't give up hope. He says that while the Dream Fund will primarily support students, research and academic programs at UCLA, "it also will support charitable causes beyond our campus, particularly those that address large societal concerns."

The foundation, which was started in 1989, has given away $1.1 billion. When plans for the transfer were announced last month, little more was said about the reason other than UCLA had been a previous grant recipient and had used the money well.

Among the many groups saddened by the forthcoming departure of the Lincy Foundation is the Nevada Cancer Institute. Hilarie Grey, vice president of communications, said the foundation has been "a tremendous partner – not just to us, but for so many nonprofits and educational institutions. Their generosity and support will be deeply missed throughout the community."—Bruce Trachtenberg