Engelstad Family Foundation quietly donates millions in area

The Engelstad Family Foundation has made another big contribution to the community in its usual quiet way.

Since its inception 11 years ago, the foundation has donated approximately $225 million to various causes and charities. Its latest effort is a recent $2 million grant to support a public school-based community program created by the Latin Chamber of Commerce and Boys Town Nevada.

Several education and family support programs are designed to help more than 500 at-risk families at public elementary and middle schools in the valley.

By my unofficial count, the foundation has donated $57 million for various charitable projects and programs in the past two years.

BULL THROWERS: It’s no secret that cowboy County Commissioner Tom Collins, D-Horseback, loves the rodeo.

So it was no surprise during Tuesday’s commission meeting that the subject turned to the upcoming Pro Bull Riders World Finals starting Wednesday at the Thomas &Mack Center. Collins did everything to promote the event but open a ticket booth.

At one point he turned to fellow Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, the dapper official who sported a natty pink tie in honor of breast cancer awareness, and implored him to put down his tennis racket and try riding a bull.

Weekly thanked him, but noted that he deals with more than enough bull as a commission member.

PRAYERS IN COURT: Before Wednesday’s sentencing of Las Vegas pimp Johnny Ray Taylor in U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey’s courtroom, defense attorney Steve Stein took a moment to inquire why a member of his client’s family had her head bowed. Was she sleeping?

“I’m praying,” the woman said.

Only she knows whether her prayers were answered.

Taylor received a 25-month sentence for tax evasion and fraudulently collecting government disability checks Combining the restitution and back taxes he owes, Taylor must also find a way to repay slightly more than $600,000.

Those funds must be generated from a new line of work, of course.

The case is the latest example of the ongoing working relationship between Metro Vice, which tracked Taylor’s business activity, and IRS Criminal Investigation agents, who followed the money and sewed up the tax case.

YOUR TOWN: The Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s annual Profiles of Courage awards are filled with hope above the heartache. This year’s 20th event is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 23 at the Bellagio Grand Ballroom.

With proceeds benefiting the foundation’s family programs and children’s summer camp, this year’s “Community Angel” is attorney/rancher Al Marquis and his dog Charlie. That’s right. His dog also receives an award. (Ticket information: 735-8434, or nvccf.org.)

PIERCE’S LIFE: It’s only fitting. In keeping with her reputation for representing organized labor and working people, the life of Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce will be celebrated at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Culinary Local 226 headquarters at 1630 S. Commerce St. Pierce died recently at age 59 after a long fight against breast cancer.

Q&A@UNLV: Having survived a playful interrogation by Mike Cutler’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class at UNLV this week, I can only say I recommend its inquisitive curriculum for anyone interested in casually continuing their education. In short, it was a great group of engaged older students. (Information: olli.unlv.edu)

ON THE BOULEVARD: One by one, home mortgage fraud scammers quietly continue to take plea deals down at federal court in association with a sweeping FBI investigation of the crime-riddled Southern Nevada market. … Retiring Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager Pat Mulroy has certainly earned a break from battle, but it’s hard to believe she will remain on the sidelines of Nevada’s contentious and endless public policy debate. … Clark County is preparing to name a bridge on the 215 after former Commissioner Paul Christensen. Ironically, I don’t recall the outspoken Christensen building a lot of bridges during his time on the commission.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.