Caesars Laughlin Community Social Services Fund

Thanks to the support of Caesars Foundation, River Fund, Inc., has recently implemented a new fund dedicated to assisting Laughlin residents facing emergency or crisis situations. If you are in need of help, call (702) 298-0611 or visit the our Laughlin office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The office is located at 55 Civic Way, east of Thomas Edison Drive and north of the fire station.


Caesars Foundation grants River Fund $15,000 to start Caesars Laughlin Community Social Services Fund

A grant just announced from Caesars Entertainment Foundation will create a brand-new program explicitly aimed at Laughlin residents who find themselves in need of help due to emergency or crisis situations.

“We’re excited to announce that River Fund, Inc., has received a $15,000 grant from Caesars Foundation,” said River Fund President and CEO Mike Conner. “The goal is to use this money to set up a Laughlin Community Social Services Fund that, with the support of the community, can keep helping Laughlin residents for many years to come.” Conner announced the new program at the Laughlin Town Advisory Board meeting on May 14, noting that updates to the organization’s website are underway to offer the option for donors to support the fund with secure online contributions.

Caesars Foundation is a private foundation funded by resorts owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, including Harrah’s Laughlin Beach Resort and Casino and Tropicana Laughlin. The foundation is the entity through which Caesars funds national and local nonprofit programs and projects with the stated objective being “to strengthen organizations and programs in the communities where our employees and their families live and work.”  Since its inception in 2002, Caesars Foundation has contributed more than $80 million to a variety of charitable organizations.

“The mission of this application is to assist River Fund, Inc., in the development of a stand-alone restricted fund designed to assist the township of Laughlin with social services specifically targeting those individuals and families experiencing crisis and hardship situations that make it difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with ever-increasing cost of living expenses and/or unexpected emergencies,” River Fund’s grant application states “These services include, but are not limited to, rent and mortgage, transportation, utilities, homelessness, vehicle repairs, new-hire work cards for employment, medical costs, legal documents – birth, marriage, death certificates, etc.- temporary shelter and other programs on a case-by-case basis.”

River Fund’s goal is to provide services and programs across both sides of the Colorado River, “but because we have never been able to obtain grant funds specifically for these purposes on an ongoing, secured basis in Laughlin, we have been struggling with random grant opportunities that help for short periods and these have become very competitive, forcing us to reach out for grants with no borders that are easily consumed by other larger communities we service in Arizona with much higher population numbers,” Conner explained.

The lack of Laughlin-specific grant funding has limited River Fund’s ability to effectively “reduce or eliminate financial difficulties in the Laughlin area. At times we can only help with partial payments or true emergencies, especially when children and seniors are involved,” he said.

Making the fund sustainable is the goal, with plans for online and in-person fundraising campaigns to foster community support to match the $15,000 grant approved by Caesars Foundation.  ”We will proceed with an online fundraising effort to encourage residents and businesses alike to contribute to a matching grant challenge to hopefully spark a sustainable new source of income directed specifically to the township of Laughlin, a first for us and a first for Laughlin,” Conner explained.

The organization’s objective is to provide a fund that can help Laughlin residents effectively deal with emergencies or crises to get them back on their feet and self-sustaining.

“We would prefer that all our encounters end the need for continued assistance after our initial investment, but not all stories come with positive outcomes,” Conner reported. “We usually don’t hear back from the majority unless they need us again due to extenuating circumstances or they decide to move out of the area with our help. However, we are blessed with many notes and emails from those that thank us for life-changing help and improved quality of life. Our programs have been ongoing annually for over 14 years, five days a week plus 24/7 on call with Metro (police) and (Clark County) Fire for sheltering fire victims and domestic violence victims.”

Laughlin demographics differ from other communities in the Colorado River region in that there are three distinct categories of residents: financially secure retirees, working-class families and those living below the poverty line.

Of the nearly 9,000 residents counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, military veterans account for 4,445 – nearly half the town’s residents – and seniors 65 or older account for 41.7% of Laughlin’s residents. Although the median household income averages $44,359, the poverty level stands at 19.7% in Laughlin. “The diversity of the population is divided into three categories: retired, middle-class employed and poverty,” Conner explained. “The school – with grades kindergarten through high school –- has an annual enrollment of approximately 300 students, most of which are at poverty level.”

Creating a special fund set aside for Laughlin only has been a longtime goal, Conner explained. “The need is so much greater in Bullhead City because of the much larger population, and because of the type of grants we receive, a lot of the money we get can only be used in Arizona. Now that we have money specifically for Laughlin, we’re planning a community challenge to keep this going. It’s important to have the security of knowing there’s always money in the fund specifically to help Laughlin residents, which will be part of the eligibility requirement.”

The funds won’t be used to help Laughlin casino employees who live in Arizona or Laughlin tourists who find themselves stuck in an emergency or crisis – only Laughlin residents will be eligible, he said. Services River Fund helps with include utility and rent assistance, emergency shelter, medical and pharmaceutical needs, vehicle and appliance repairs, work cards, birth certificates, ID cards and other necessities. Major problems such as homelessness, domestic violence, cancer, memory loss, veterans’ assistance and disaster assistance due to fire or water damage also remain top priorities at River Fund.

The Laughlin Community Social Services Fund will join six other specialized funds administered by River Fund to address identified needs in the region. The other programs include Cancer Connection Fund assisting cancer patients; Starlight Final Rest Fund helping families with final expenses after the death of a loved one; Memory Care Fund assisting individuals and families dealing with cognitive issues; Veterans Assistance Fund helping military veterans in need; Anna Circle Fire Fund assisting those affected by the tragic fire in Bullhead City last fall that resulted in the death of five children and displacement of two families.; and Employee Donor Crisis Fund, which assists people with emergency needs who support River Fund through employee payroll deductions.

River Fund has impacted more than 80,000 lives with immediate emergency crisis and hardship assistance totaling more than $3.7 million throughout the Tri-state area since its inception in 2010. The organization’s motto is “Locals Helping Locals” – all the funds stay in the local area and at least 82 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to individuals and families in need.

For more information or to make a contribution to the organization, visit River Fund’s website at or call (702) 298-0611 in Laughlin or (928) 704-0039 in Bullhead City. River Fund offices are located at 55 Civic Way in Laughlin and 1343 Hancock Road in Bullhead City. In-person office hours for client assistance are 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in Bullhead City and 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays in Laughlin.

~ Article courtesy Jill Ramelot, Laughlin Nevada Times