Tag Archives: fundraising

Pinball Wizard Plans New Hall of Fame in Las Vegas

With the rising use of iPods and iPhones and other iStuff, it’s a wonder that people even remember the good ol’ times of throwing quarters in a pinball machine, pulling the plunger back and firing a chrome ball, then trying to deftly use flippers to force it through the highest-scoring gates, causing lights to flash and sounds to bellow. Those were the good times.  And, thankfully, they’re still are alive and well in Las Vegas, thanks to the boundless passion and energy of a pinball wizard extraordinaire. 

In one of the longest-standing and best kept entertainment secrets in Las Vegas, on Tropicana Avenue off Pecos Road, sits a 4,500-square-foot Pinball Hall of Fame museum containing more than 200 pinball machines from the ‘50s and ‘60s.    

Opening in 2006, the business is owned by Tim Arnold, 53, and is operated as a non-profit venture, with the excess quarters donated to the Salvation Army and other charities.  Arnold just wants to have others to enjoy his collection and not keep the machines stored in some dusty warehouse. pinball2

Now, the equally great news is that within the next 90 days the museum plans to be moving to their new digs that will nearly double the size of the current pinball edifice, enabling Arnold to showcase up to 1,200 of the finest pinball machines in the land, while being closer to Las Vegas tourists.

The Clark County Planning Commission recently approved the use permit for relocating the museum.  Arnold will soon upgrade the 8,662-square-foot building at 1610 E. Tropicana to meet county code and then he’ll be moving his objects of affection and adding to his pinball family. 

The Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, of which Arnold is the president, purchased the building in November, 2008 for $1.24 million– that’s a whole lot of Pinball Love from a guy that bought his first machine in 1970 for $200.

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Poker Ace Annie Duke ‘All In’ at World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

Poker ace Annie Duke plays poker like she is running a business, not letting emotions rule her play, thinking quicklyAnnieDuke and accurately, as witnessed in her latest TV show stint.  With CEO-like skills, she is one of the most successful female poker players in the world.  The 43-year-old Duke has been playing in the World Series of Poker since 1994 and has cashed in on 37 events, earning more than $1.13 million through the Rio tournament annually held in Las Vegas. 

Her best finish in the tournament’s $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em Main Event was in 2000 when she placed 10th and won $52,160.  She won her first World Series of Poker champion’s bracelet in 2004 at an Omaha High-Low event. 

“I’ll probably play in about 15 to 20 events at the World Series,” Duke said. “It’s a long haul.” 

Duke drafted a new legion of fans and followers, boosting poker’s image in the process, as a contestant in the television series “The Celebrity Apprentice.”  She was one of 16 personalities trying to raise money for charity while trying not to be fired by the host, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump.  Duke finished second ahead of a whole slew of sports stars, but it was her acrimonious verbal battles with comedienne Joan Rivers, the show’s eventual winner, that had the audience turning on in record numbers, driving ratings out the roof. 

Rivers said Duke was worse than “Hitler” and compared poker players to members of the Mafia.  Although the comments raised the ire of the poker community and officials at the World Series of Poker, the media boost couldn’t have been better for the game, Duke and Trump– it raised more than $1.5 million for various charities. 

But Duke believes that Rivers still owes poker players and Las Vegas an apology. 

“Poker is a legitimate profession,” said Duke, who is a graduate of Columbia University with degrees in psychology and English.  She also spent five years working toward a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in cognitive psychology, which she has set aside for now. 

Divorced, Duke is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 7 to 14.  

Her brother is poker standout Howard Lederer, who has two World Series of Poker titles to his credit.  On four occasions she and her bro have ended up at the same table during World Series of Poker play- each time she has knocked him out of the competition, adding “I guess I have bragging rights.” 

Duke is well known for her charitable giving efforts.  Through poker events, she has raised millions of dollars for children’s hospitals and educational foundations. 

In 2007, she and actor Don Cheadle established the Ante Up for Africa event, a $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold ‘em annual Las Vegas event in July that raises funds for the survivors of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.  The event attracts the best Hollywood A-list celebrities and the poker elite, raising $500,000 last year alone for the cause. 

Duke is also an activist on Capitol Hill in trying to change the federal law outlawing the Internet wagering.  She is one of the founding members of the Poker Players Alliance, which supports making online poker once again a legal activity.

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Breast Implants for the Asking

An idea spawned casually over drinks at Pure nightclub in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2005 is paying off big-time.   Seeing a cocktail waitress in the club who explained to guests she was saving money for breast implants and the willingness of many men in the group she was serving to immediately pledge anywhere from $5 to $50 to her cause – raising $750 before the night was over – prompted enterprising entrepreneurs Jay Moore and Jason Grunstra to return to California and try the same process online, launching www.MyFreeImplants.combreast

Cyber-solicited cosmetic surgery has apparently come of age.

 Acceptance of the idea, though, started slowly, with only four women in 2005 raising enough money for their implants.  Today, 425 women have reached their fundraising goals of $5,000 to $7,000, exchanging messages, photos and videos for cash donations.   The site’s founders expect $2.6 million in voluntary donations this year; that’s down from the $2.8 million raised in 2008- the recession is apparently hitting everyone. 

Women who want breast implants join the site for free.  At a minimum, men must buy “message credits to email with the women- $1.20 per message, $1 of which goes to the woman being messaged.  Men who want more from the site must pay $9.95 a month in membership fees, which busy the so-called “benefactors” a few free message credits, and, more important, access to every woman on the site: her photos, blog entries and else she makes make available.  These benefactors can make direct donations to women they like, or negotiate an exchange for their donations. 

It’s strictly forbidden to exchange actual addresses, e-mail or otherwise.  And giving your real name is cautioned against. 

About 2,000 men are paying the monthly fee; men who are, in effect, paying money to give to women they’re told they will never meet. 

The average donation is $30, though some have donated the full cost of a surgery. 

Surgeons can pay for ads to appear on the site or pay $295 annually to be listed among recommended doctors, provided they’re board certified. 

Women on the site never actually get the money they raise.  Instead, it’s held in trust, with interest accruing, until they meet their surgery goal.  Then, when the surgery is complete, the organizers pay the doctor directly.  On average, women take from six to seven months to meet their goal, though it can take years for many.  The trust holds about $2 million now. 

Some surgeons have refused to accept the Web sites patients, denouncing the process as degrading, shocking and appalling, relating it to an offshore lottery on a person’s health.  But many surgeons are going along with the idea. 

The hard part of it all for many of the women is persuading strangers to give them money online.  The “trick” is that women have to spend hours online developing relationships with benefactors, enticing them to send more message, buy photos and make donations. The large investment in time it takes to be successful is why 140,000 women have created profiles on the site, but only 3,500 are active. 

When the surgery is done, women are also contractually obligated to provide “after” pictures, so the people who made the donations can see what they paid for.  (The post-surgery photos available online are all of clothed women.)  The contract also requires women to stay on the site, talking to their benefactors, for an additional six months.

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Want to meet President Obama in Las Vegas?

How does meeting President Obama sound? Have you ever wanted to create a great campaign slogan? Now is your chance to do both. 

On May 26th, President Obama, Rachel Yamagata, Rita Rudner, Sheryl Crow, and Bette Midler will be honoring Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid at a tribute event at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.  A limited number of seats are still available for $250, $125, and $50. 

Nevada residents who purchase tickets and submit their idea for a 2010 campaign slogan for Harry Reid by 11:59 PM Saturday, May 23rd (including those who have already purchased tickets) will be automatically eligible to win a pass to a very special backstage reception with President Obama, Senator Reid, and special guests.  Reid’s campaign manager, Brandon Hall, will judge one original campaign slogan submission to receive a pass to the backstage reception. 

Click here to purchase your seats and submit your idea for a 2010 Harry Reid campaign slogan to be automatically entered in the contest for a pass to the special backstage reception. 

To bypass the slogan submission form, and simply purchase tickets to the event, click here.

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The Shade Tree’s Pre-Mother’s Day Walk to Aid Las Vegas Homeless

Las Vegas is not known for its universal kind, caring and compassionate ways in dealing with its growing homeless population.  Quite the contrary.  So, anytime there is a local fundraising event that helps, Las Vegas Backstage Access likes to lend a helping hand.  

This Saturday, May 9, when The Shade Tree will host a pre-Mother’s Day Walk of Hope to raise funds for their downtown shelter for homeless women and children. 

Proceeds go to The Shade Tree, which provides shelter, food and clothing to more than 3,000 homeless women and 1,000 homeless children each year. 

The “family fun walk” will begin at 9 a.m. at Children’s Memorial Park, 6601 W. Gowan Road, near Rainbow Boulevard in Las Vegas. 

Registration is $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12.  For more information and to register, please visit http://www.TheShadeTree.org

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World’s Largest Martini Prepares for Las Vegas Christening

Las Vegas-based Opportunity Village is teaming with Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas to create the city’s largest gin-based martini, The Opportunitini.  The unveiling event is Tuesday, April 28, at 6 p.m. in front of Hard Rock Cafe’s signature guitar martiniin Las Vegas at 4475 Paradise Road. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will be on-hand with his bevy of Vegas showgirls and world-class entertainment to ceremoniously top off the 20-gallon martini that will then be served to guests at the ceremony.     

The Opportunitini is the brainchild of mixologists at Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Cafe and will be placed on their menu for the entire summer.  Proceeds from the sales of the drink will benefit the men and women at Opportunity Village, which is celebrating its 55th year of providing vocational training, social skills, job training and placement and opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities in Las Vegas.   

“We are very excited about partnering with the Hard Rock Cafe to unveil The Opportunitini,” says Linda Smith, Chief Development Officer at Opportunity Village.  “The record-breaking attempt promises to be an exciting event and the drink will be the perfect adult thirst quencher during those hot summer months.”

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Susan G. Koman Foundation’s Las Vegas Race for Cancer Cure

“It started with a promise…it will end with a cure.” susankoman

The 14th annual Susan G. Koman Southern Nevada Race for the Cure will be held on May 2 in Las Vegas.  The route will begin at Las Vegas Blvd. and Clark and continue through downtown to Las Vegas Blvd and Fremont – the Fremont Street Experience. 

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation was established by Nancy Brinker after her sister, Suzy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978.  Treatment options were limited and there was little if any public recognition of the cause or impact of breast cancer.  Suzy died at the age of 36 and her sister Nancy made it her goal to fund health care options, develop treatments and raise awareness of this deadly disease.  The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation officially opened its doors in 1982.  

The Race for the Cure is the largest single fundraiser for the Koman organization.   Proceeds from the race help fund breast health education, cancer screening, patient support and treatment.  

On average, 75 percent of the funds raised in Nevada stay in Nevada to help local women.  

Online registration will be available through Monday April 27, however you may register up to and including race day and there is still time to be a sponsor or volunteer at the event.

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