The first thing you learn after moving to Las Vegas is to avoid the Strip when driving and stick to either Koval Lane or Dean Martin Drive as a shortcut to avoid traffic congestion. That lesson takes less than a month! But when you’ve lived here for 10 years or more there are a lot of other observations about life in Las Vegas. I never knew until Calida Group co-founder Douglas Eisner, who built the Elysian communities, told us that 85 percent of Vegas employment is through small business.
If you go down the list of our city’s 25 largest employers No. 25 has fewer than 1,000 employees. So, Doug reaches an overlooked conclusion: “It’s essentially a city of people who work in small offices, hit the grocery store after work and then head home. When do they meet people? It’s hard.”
He set out to change that by curating communities that fostered connections and launched the first Elysian community in 2008 with his partner, Eric Cohen. Here Doug looks at 10 years of living well and giving back in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is an amazing city but can be pretty isolating at times. For one, it’s a city of small employers. Yes, you have the glitz of the Strip but if you go down the list of the 25 largest employers, No. 25 has fewer than 1,000 employees. And, 85 percent of employment here is through small business. On top of that, probably three-quarters of residents were born elsewhere. So, it’s essentially a city of people who work in small offices, hit the grocery store after work and then head home. When do they meet people? It’s hard.
I’m originally from New York. Eric is originally from Miami. We’re familiar with cities that have a diverse set of opportunities to meet people and connect. Ten years ago, we started The Calida Group to curate communities that fostered connections in diverse and creative ways. We launched the first Elysian community in 2008 and now it’s the preeminent name in Las Vegas residential.
Elysian Living is luxurious, but it’s more than that. Yes, the gyms are often five to 10 times the size of those found in other communities. They also have personal trainers and state-of-the-art equipment, but we also program classes where regulars come and meet. Yes, we have a 24-hour concierge, on-site dry cleaning and package delivery; but we also have a rotating calendar of catered events and volunteer opportunities. There’s a great deal of effort and attention paid into knitting a cohesive community. You may not meet people at the office, but you’ll definitely meet people at an Elysian property.
Now, with 10 successful years of building and developing in Las Vegas, it was time to find a special and unique way to give back and thank the community that has supported us. We wanted to empower our residents to connect outside the walls of our properties. After nearly two years of preparation, we have officially launched the Elysian Living Foundation to continue to build and share that strong sense of community through the power of collective action.
We believe giving back is part of living well. Unfortunately, many people don’t know where to begin. The Elysian Living Foundation’s online platform gives residents and non-residents a simple, yet powerful place to start, acting as “crowdfunding” for philanthropy. Anyone can easily sign up and commit to a monthly donation, for as little as a dollar. From there, all the participants can nominate charitable organizations they want to support.
At the end of the year, the money raised is split in half, with 50 percent donated to our charity partner. For 2017, we’ve partnered with Habitat for Humanity in support of their mission to bring people together to build homes and hope throughout Clark County.
The remaining 50 perfect of funds goes to the nonprofit with the highest amount of votes chosen by participants. The administrative costs of the foundation are covered at the corporate level, so 100 percent of every dollar received goes directly to charity.
At Calida, we know that giving is a very personal choice. We aren’t here to say that any one cause is more important than another. It’s all important. We just care that the participants care. And if we can start a new and interesting dialogue around the pool, or over a glass of wine in our clubhouse, even better.
Would it be better to have one person donate $100,000? Perhaps. It certainly would be easier! But there’s something special about 10,000 people each giving $10. That’s the goal here. Wider involvement. Another way to connect.
See it in action on www.elysianlivingfoundation.com or view all of our Las Vegas properties on www.elysianliving.com and stay social by following us @ElysianLiving for Twitter and Instagram and on www.facebook.com/elysianlivinglv.