Overview | Affinity Groups

Overview Affinity

af· fin· i· ty  pronounced [uh-fin-i-tee] noun, plural af·fin·i·ties., adjective

noun: an inherent likeness or agreement; close resemblance or connection.

adjective: of or pertaining to persons who share the same interests.


United Way of Southern Nevada’s affinity groups provide a means for passionate, determined, and action-oriented leaders in southern Nevada to use their collective strength and financial power to make a difference.  While our groups are diverse, they are truly connected by a singular mission or passion.

United Way’s Tocqueville Society, Women’s Leadership Council and Young Philanthropists Society provide an opportunity for individuals to join together and inspire others to take action in meeting the most pressing needs of the community and creating lasting change to improve lives.

Tocqueville Society Spotlight | Susan and Warren Best


Susan Best was born and raised in Nebraska.  She met her husband, Warren, when she opened a new Enterprise Rent-A-Car group in Winnipeg, Canada. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado.

The couple has been married 17 years and has two wonderful teen daughters, Cassidy (16) and Lindsay (13).

“No sarcasm intended – our girls really are good teenagers,” explained Susan. “I recently started a new hobby running half marathons with Cassidy and Lindsay does competitive cheer.”

Warren is an avid golfer and the couple enjoys spending time on the golf course. Monday night is date night at “I Love Sushi.”

“What a great way to start the week and catch up with my husband!” exclaimed Susan.

Susan also looks forward to time spent on family vacations, enjoying each other’s company and discovering new interests.

With a zest for life, Susan begins her at 5:30 am with a Group Cycling or Body Extreme class at the gym, arriving at the office at 8:00 am with non-stop employee interaction and whatever else comes her way.

“My day is so filled that I often don’t realize that it is 6 pm and time to go home for the evening,” said Susan.

With a career that began with Enterprise right out of college, Susan has been with the company for 27 years and currently serves as the Controller overseeing the Nevada operations.

Susan’s support of United Way began with her career at Enterprise.

“Enterprise has always been a strong supporter of United Way; it is the only charity they ask their employees to support,” said Susan.

Susan and Warren have been Tocqueville Society members since 2004, and enjoy giving throughout the year through their Community Investment Account.

“Southern Nevada has been a wonderful community for our family and through United Way we enjoy giving back to the community that has been so good to us,” said Susan. “I enjoy networking with the like-minded philanthropists that are part of the Tocqueville Society.”

Susan supports United Way because she firmly believes in United Way’s focus on the building blocks of a better life Education, Health and Financial Stability.

“I believe in giving a hand up versus a hand out,” said Susan. “There are so many opportunities to volunteer your time or financial support to our southern Nevada community that is our home.”

YPS Spotlight | Brian Maddox

Brian-MaddoxHelping those in need to achieve their dreams, Brian Maddox provides possibilities where none exist through his career and his support of United Way’s Young Philanthropists Society.

Brian grew up in Worcester, MA and before college worked several odd jobs throughout the city, which motivated him to obtain a college education with a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

With an adventurous spirit, Brian enjoys traveling with his children and giving them the opportunity to experience different cultures and regions.

“I want my kids to know that there is a big world out there and that their neighborhood does not define or limit them in any way,” explained Brian.

As the Director of Nevada Operations for Clearinghouse CDFI, Brian helps improve communities by providing creative lending products for projects that have few alternatives.

“I absolutely love my career, as it offers new challenges every day for planting flowers where I believe that they will grow,” said Brian. “I finance the dreams of individuals, businesses owners, nonprofits, and developers, who thought no opportunities or alternatives existed.”

Since the very start of his career, Brian supported United Way in every city that he has lived. He became a Young Philanthropists Society (YPS) member five years ago to actively play a role in how his donation impacts communities in need, as well as to network with other professionals who help the most vulnerable communities.

“Whether through financial education, community reading week, or Piggy Bank savings, the impact of YPS has been amazing in the lives of young children throughout the Valley,” said Brian. “I believe that the goodwill that has been created will pay dividends for many years to come.”

Brian believes that the biggest impact of YPS is helping to teach young kids financial literacy to actively save for their future through the Piggy Bank program.

“The Piggy Bank program helps to increase the financial success of the community by building a solid foundation for families and individuals to obtain economic independence,” said Brian.

As an active member in the YPS Project Funding Committee, Brian makes recommendations for funding local nonprofit programs that yield optimal community impact and volunteer opportunities.

“Because we are tasked with directing member donations, we take our role quite seriously and aim to be good stewards of the trust imparted us by the general membership,” said Brian.

Brian believes that United Way plays a major role in helping to direct resources to organizations that are making a difference in lives of our community’s most vulnerable.

“The United Way of Southern Nevada has many opportunities for individuals who are seeking a way to donate or play an active role in their communities,” said Brian. “If this sounds like you, please reach out to the United Way.”

YPS | Helping Children Learn to Save


United Way of Southern Nevada’s Young Philanthropists Society (YPS) members treated over 100 students at Bracken Elementary School on Wednesday, May 21 to a Root Beer Float Celebration. Students who had the highest participation in the “Piggy Bank” program during the 2013-14 school year got to indulge in the summertime favorite dessert, sponsored by the UPS Foundation.

While some students saved for a brand new bike and others had loftier goals of saving for college or a car, in total 120 children at Bracken Elementary school saved over $32,000 during the 2013-14 school year.

The “Piggy Bank” program has taught over 478 students at Walter Bracken Elementary School how to save and learn the importance of financial responsibility since the “Piggy Bank” opened on October 5, 2012. According to the program’s chair, YPS Vice-chair and Piggy Bank Committee Chair Chelsie Campbell, the students of Bracken saved over $18,000 during the first year.

To help encourage saving after elementary school, on May 30th YPS members gave high fives and provided words of encouragement for the graduating students and gave $25 to each fifth grader that opened a savings account at Silver State Schools Credit Union.

For the innovative program, Campbell and her fellow YPS members collaborated with Walter Bracken Elementary School, Junior Achievement, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Andson Foundation and various volunteers, to convert  an unused room into a kid-friendly walk-up bank-teller window with a TV to showcase each classroom’s savings. The “Piggy Bank” program also includes a six-module curriculum component that brings to life the importance of saving and money management.

“Seeing the childrens’ smiles when they make a deposit is awesome,” said Chelsie. “They are so proud of the money that they are saving every week.”

According to Campbell, at the program’s start, kids planned to spend their savings on candy and bicycles, but by curriculum’s end their goals grew to one day afford a car or even a house.

“They learned to recognize the power of having a dollar in the bank,” said Chelsie.

To learn more about YPS, contact Jason Soto, Director, Young Philanthropists Society-Major Gifts at JasonS@uwsn.org or 702-892-2360.



Tocqueville Society Spotlight | Tony & Elaine Sanchez

A dynamic and active couple, Tony and Elaine Sanchez are passionate about giving back to their community, a desire they have instilled in their four children. Raised in Las Vegas, Tony graduated from Valley High in 1984 and graduated from the Arizona State College of Law in 1991. Born and raised in southern California, Elaine graduated fromContinue Reading

New Affinity Group Members

Welcome to all of the new United Way of Southern Nevada affinity group members that have joined since 12/17/13. Tocqueville Society Elliot Chambers Jill Fournier Glen Howard Steven & Carrie Larson William Russell Philippe & Christelle Ziade Women’s Leadership Council Janice Paligutan Barr Philamee Bennett Mikey Bilbray Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher Kathryn Bonello Elizabeth Brickfield Paula BrowneContinue Reading

WLC Spotlight | Holly Lloyd

An adventurer at heart, Holly Lloyd grew up in Tucson, Ariz. where she enjoyed soccer and horseback riding. She now thrives on camping, boating, swimming, hiking and traveling with her husband David. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in history from University of Arizona, Holly loves history and is passionate about giving back toContinue Reading

Nancy Houssels Highlighted for her Impact on Nevada

In an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal from Sunday, March 30th, eight women were highlighted by author and historian Michael Green for their significant impact on the state of Nevada. Read about our very own Nancy Houssels– very impressive! But we knew that already… Nancy Houssels Nancy Houssels was born in California andContinue Reading

Tocqueville Spotlight | Cathy Jones

Living life to the fullest is Cathy Jones’ credo, and along the way she has built a thriving commercial real estate firm and volunteered her time to help build a brighter future for southern Nevada. Born in Detroit, Michigan in a family of five children, to this day Cathy is still an avid Detroit LionsContinue Reading

Fashion’s Finest at WLC Luncheon Fashion Show

Over 450 women enjoyed the latest DKNY fashions and a delicious lunch at United Way of Southern Nevada’s Women’s Leadership Council Luncheon Fashion Show at Four Seasons Hotel on February 21, 2014. With a room filled to capacity, the event recognized WLC’s impact in the community and women community leaders who demonstrate a commitment to improving southernContinue Reading

YPS Spotlight | Leroy Godfrey

Leroy Godfrey came into our fine town with gusto! He relocated to Las Vegas six months ago to open Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Town Square, which opened on January 17. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Leroy has a passion for steaks, large plated servings and giving back to the community. “IContinue Reading