Meet the Passionate Founder of Nevada’s Big Give

Community Impact

As The Smith Center celebrates its fifth anniversary this month, we also celebrate the generosity that has made our role as the Heart of the Arts possible. From the moment this “Dream in the Desert” started to become reality, nearly 6,000 individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations gave from their hearts to help make it happen.

The Smith Center’s Founders led the way with their philanthropic support, and the community has embraced their vision, with public support providing 25 percent of our annual operating support each year.

The Smith Center is proud to be a part of Nevada’s nonprofit community, and we will once again join nonprofits across the Silver State in participating in Nevada’s Big Give on March 23.

We sat down with Smith Center patron and founder of Nevada’s Big Give, Stacey Wedding, to discuss this important community event.

So, what is Nevada’s Big Give, exactly?

Nevada's Big Give is a 24-hour online crowdfunding event created to rally community support and build awareness for Nevada’s charitable causes. This one-day fundraiser was created by NevadaGIVES, and is powered by NevadaGIVES and United Way of Southern Nevada. It will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2017 from 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.

The goal of Nevada’s Big Give is to make charitable giving easy, accessible and fun so Nevada’s nonprofit organizations — our community safety nets — can grow and thrive.

Can anyone participate?

Absolutely! No gift is too large or too small. 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.

The company you founded, Professionals in Philanthropy, is committed to strengthening communities and individuals through giving and good work.  Why is philanthropy important to you?

Philanthropy is a great equalizer. It is something all of us benefit from and something any of us can do. The rescue pets we love, the technology that lessens the burden of medical conditions we live with, the community safety net that helps us when we fall upon hard times, the hiking trails that connect us to the outdoors, the exhibits at museums that educate us, and the performances at art and cultural centers that awaken us…. All of this and so much more is made possible through philanthropy. It feeds my soul to be a part of something that impacts so many lives!

You are a Las Vegas native and frequent patron of The Smith Center. What is it like, for you, to have a world-class performing arts center here in Las Vegas?

It is a tremendous gift!

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. It was something other communities had—not Las Vegas. Even to this day, I pinch myself when coming to The Smith Center. It is a place I go for a sense of community, and it brings me a feeling of pride that is difficult to put into words.

We know we’ve seen you at shows over the last five years, do you have any favorites or performances that stand out in your memory?

One of my favorites at Reynolds Hall was “Wicked.” The special effects were sensational, and the story line of good versus evil — and the complexities of each — really resonated with me.  At Cabaret Jazz, I relish the intimacy of a smaller venue. I was introduced to Storm Large at this venue, and she is now one of my favorites. What a vocal talent!

Any words of advice to someone thinking about supporting The Smith Center – or any of Nevada’s wonderful nonprofits – through Nevada’s Big Give?

Have fun with it!  Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not about how much we give, but about how much love we put into giving.” Nevada’s Big Give is a way to join together with your friends and family and neighbors across our state and celebrate generosity and kindness.

I’d also challenge anyone who gives on March 23rd to invite one friend, family member, colleague or neighbor to join them. 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.