Courtesy Cherokee Nation
From left, Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory Jordan, Janice Randall, Bill John Baker, Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick and Board Member Leroy Qualls

Tribes and Casinos Give Back in 2013

September 26, 2013

Agua Caliente Helps Feed the Needy
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians appreciates the work of the nonprofit Well in the Desert to fill the stomachs of those struggling to make ends meet. In August, the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa and the Spa Resort Casino of Downtown Palm Springs, the tribe’s main economic drivers, donated 2,500 pounds of food to the Well in the Desert.

“There is a great deal of need in our community, and the volunteers at the Well in the Desert are making sure people who are in need have access to healthy food,” Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said.

The Well in the Desert provides emergency food assistance, weekly supplemental food distribution, and access to community services to those affected by poverty, including the working poor, the homeless, seniors, the handicapped and others in need throughout the west end of California’s Coachella Valley for more than 17 years.

“Our shelves were nearly empty,” Well in the Desert President Arlene Rosenthal said. “We are thrilled with the tribe’s generosity and support of our work to provide daily nutritious hot meals to those in need. This time of year is especially hard for our less fortunate. Having good food on our shelves means people will have good food in their bellies.”

Oneida Nation Supports Its Community
Throughout the year the Oneida Nation, largely funded by Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, New York, has made several contributions to local organizations, including a donation of $10,000 that it gave to the Cooperstown Central School District in May. The funds were used to help offset the cost of the school’s change of mascot from the Redskins to the CCS Hawkeyes. This change was prompted from a vote by the CCS student body and removed by the school in July.

Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Ray Halbritter said, “The thoughtful and compassionate decision by the students and administration to change the school’s mascot speaks well for the way Cooperstown is enlightening its youth, and speaks well for the future of their community. The Oneida Nation is honored to lend its support as the school transitions to a more inclusive mascot. All New Yorkers should be proud of the Cooperstown Central School District for standing up for something bigger than themselves.”

In July, the Oneida Nation presented its 20th ceremonial check to the Verona Fire District, representing the Oneida Nation’s $100,000 annual service agreement. This donation goes directly into the district’s general fund, which helps pay for items like firefighter protective equipment.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gives $10 Million to Tribes
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) donated more than $10 million to 18 American Indian tribes in eight states.

“Helping tribes improve their communities, expand their economies, and enhance their health and education offerings is central to the community’s role as a good neighbor to our fellow tribes,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig in a statement. “The needs in Indian country are still widespread, and we want to help meet those needs as much as we can.”

The community and the SMSC Gaming Enterprise (Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino) are the largest employers in Scott County. Out of a Dakota tradition to help others, the community has also donated nearly $272 million to organizations and causes since 1992, funds its own infrastructure, and contributes generously to regional governments and infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems, and emergency services.

Cherokee Nation Donates Funds to Boys & Girls Clubs
The Cherokee Nation donated nearly $200,000 to its eight Boys & Girls Clubs in 2013. These funds help the club’s after-school programs continue their character and leadership development among the Cherokee youth.

“The Cherokee Nation is a proud and regular financial supporter of the mentoring work done at Indian Country Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker in a press release. “The benefit our youth acquire from these worthy organizations is significant. We owe our children, especially those who need it the most, an outlet and an opportunity where they can grow into their full potential as productive and responsible citizens.”

The Cherokee Nation, largely funded by Cherokee Nation Entertainment and their eight casinos throughout Oklahoma, has contributed more than $1.5 million to help the organizations with salaries, operation costs and materials since 2008. The nation’s Boys & Girls Clubs serve 15,000 students in total.

“The Cherokee Nation donation is so important. If we didn’t have this money, it would be almost impossible to run our programs,” said Janice Randall, Cherokee County Boys & Girls Club chief professional officer. “We use the money for scholarships for our kids and to fund any program needs the kids might have.”

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort Donated $12,500 to American Cancer Society
In addition to an $8,500 donation from the western North Carolina–based resort itself, more than 60 Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort employees participated in community’s fourth annual Relay for Life in August to raise $4,000 for the American Cancer Society (ACS) to support patients, caregivers and survivors in treatment and recovery.

“Relay for Life is something you must experience if you have battled cancer, cared for or loved someone with cancer, or lost someone to cancer,” Julie Wilnoty, Relay for Life event chair and an ovarian and endometrial cancer survivor, said. “Back in 2010 when we held the first relay in Cherokee, [North Carolina,] we raised $1,800. We’ve grown a lot since then.”

The society has been a Harrah’s Cherokee community partner since 2001. All money raised will fund American Cancer Society programs and services in western North Carolina.

In addition to the monetary donation, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort hosted the ACS Cancer Survivors Dinner in August. The event celebrated area cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Pechanga to Host Hair Drive In October
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Spa Pechanga at Pechanga Resort & Casino will be hosting a month-long hair donation drive in conjunction with Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

Those wishing to donate eight inches or more of their untreated and not recently colored hair will receive a free haircut and style from the professional salon masters at Spa Pechanga during the month of October. All contributions will be given to the alternative hair accessories company HairUWear’s continuing efforts in creating real-hair wigs to distribute to female cancer patients through the national network of American Cancer Society wig banks.

For more than a decade, Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California has been a major supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its region, the Inland Empire. As a leader in the community, Pechanga Resort & Casino stands behind the efforts of countless altruistic organizations and contributes millions in assistance annually.

To make a reservation or for more information, contact Spa Pechanga at 877-711-2946 or Visit