Friends of Shade Tree hold event to help women in need

The Shade Tree offers more than 100,000 nights of shelter each year to women and children in need. With an overhead of more than $3 million annually, donations by both public and private parties are imperative.

According to the nonprofit’s annual report, nearly half of the organization’s budget goes to meal and shelter services to the thousands of homeless and battered women and children in the Las Vegas area. And, with The Shade Tree relying solely on grants and donations, the depressed economy over the past few years has caused a 30 percent decrease in contributions.

One contribution the organization has come to rely on is the annual Friends of the Shade Tree’s Girls Night Out Charity Gala. In 2012 the event raised more than $120,000 and this year the Friends of Shade Tree committee hoped to reach a similar mark.

“The event was a success,” said Raquel Sanchez, a board member for The Shade Tree and committee member for The Friends of the Shade Tree. “We’re still compiling the donations and money that was raised at last week’s event, and donations are still coming in.”

Sanchez said the goal was to raise the same amount as last year but she thinks they may not have reached that goal at the May 16 event held at The ACT Nightclub inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo Las Vegas. It could take another full week or more to calculate the totals and take into account the donations from callers who weren’t able to attend the gala, she said.

The event, now in its 11th year, featured a live and silent auction, as well as entertainment from Las Vegas headliner Zowie Bowie. The silent auction, the biggest money-maker from the event, featured high-end designer purses and handbags donated by individuals, fashion labels and stores located in the various high-end market shopping centers. The silent auction offered handbags as well, but also included other fashion accessories, trips, show tickets and staycations.

“We don’t really make money on the ticket sales, but we raise a lot with the auctions,” Sanchez said. “The Shade Tree is a local community charity and this money is absolutely necessary for them to stay in business and maintain their day-to-day operations.”

Sanchez said that with the decline of donations to the local nonprofit from individuals, the majority of The Shade Tree’s funds comes from third-party sponsored events and a variety of grants. The Girls Night Out event is the largest event held annually with the proceeds benefitting the women and children at The Shade Tree.

Although people believe that a shortage of funds would cause staff cuts at the organization, Sanchez said it’s the programs that help get the women back on their feet that are cut first.

“They’re here to help the women and kids that have nowhere else to go. From the moment they walk through those doors The Shade Tree’s immediate goal is to get them to a place in their lives where they can leave and move forward,” she said.

The Shade Tree is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible. The Friends of the Shade Tree, a 503(b) organization, always accepts donations at their website or by calling 888-311-3129.

Sanchez said this year they also learned that they need more women to become interested in volunteering for the annual charity gala and for participating on the Friends of the Shade Tree committee. Women interested in lending a hand can also call the Friends of the Shade Tree number for more information.

Contact researcher Beth Karuschak at or 702-383-0456.


The Bennett Family Foundation and the Engelstad Family Foundation have mutually pledged $1 million to Three Square Food Bank.

The Engelstad Family Foundation awarded a $2.25 million grant to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

The Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation received a $1,000 donation from the Riviera Employee Foundation.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada received a $3,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Foundation.

The Home Depot Foundation donated carpeting valued at $100,000 to Veterans Village of Las Vegas.

Easter Seals Nevada received an $800,000 grant from Workforce Connections to build their employment programming and help place individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

The Wells Fargo Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada.

Credit One Bank donated $20,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada to support its site-based mentoring program at eight targeted Clark County elementary schools and four Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas locations.

Henderson International School donated $23,112.08 to the American Heart Association. The school collected the funds through the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart programs.

Fogo De Chao donated $8,400 to Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada. The funds were raised through a joint effort where Junior Achievement was encouraged to invite their supporters for a pre-arranged dining experience at the restaurant. All proceeds went directly to the local charity.


The Solutions Foundation is hosting the Fight Addiction - Race for Recovery, a 5K/1 mile fun-walk at 8 a.m. on June 1. The race is superhero-themed and will take place at Kellog Zaher Park, 7701 W. Washington Ave. Tickets are $35 for the run and $25 for the fun-walk.

Send submissions to researcher Beth Karuschak at Include the name of the donor company, the charity that benefits, and the size of the contribution. Also include a date for the contribution or event.