Strip headliners joining forces in the name of charity

Charities often struggle with raising money and can fall victim to the old adage, you need money to make money. Some Las Vegas charities decide to host events to raise money, but if the entertainment is sparse to non-existent, selling tickets to people other than ardent supporters can be tricky business.

In steps Las Vegas Strip headliner Jeff Civillico. In 2011 he founded Win-Win Entertainment, a nonprofit organization that connects charities with Las Vegas entertainers for free, one show at a time.

An entertainer provides their services to the charity for free, and Win-Win provides support to the entertainer and the event, to make sure the entertainer’s appearance goes smoothly. So far, Win-Win has arranged 25 events for charities in need.

It’s no easy feat. Win-Win doesn’t just arrange for an entertainer to perform at an event, the organization – singlehandedly run by Civillico and volunteers – goes in and sets up the stage, sound system, whatever the entertainer donating his or her time requires.

“This is Las Vegas, so if you’re having an event … you’re kind of expected there’s going to be some sort of high-end entertainment,” he said.

To help reach more charities, Win-Win is throwing the Headliners Bash fundraiser Nov. 22 at The Quad Resort & Casino, hosted by Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton.

The bash features an impressive line-up of Strip performers, including Veronic DiCaire, Taylor Hicks, the Jersey Boys, Million Dollar Quartet, Mac King, Frank Marino’s Divas, Recycled Percussion, Frankie Moreno, Human Nature, the Kristef Brothers from “America’s Got Talent” and Jeff Civillico. Musical director Lon Bronson will perform with his eight-piece band.

The fundraiser starts with a pre-reception at 7:30 p.m. and a silent auction in The Hall at the Quad. The show begins at 9 p.m. in the showroom.

For charities, entertainment – or lack of it – can make or break their event. But hiring a competent entertainer isn’t cheap and can cost charities thousands of dollars they don’t have. Civillico estimates fellow entertainers command an easy $15,000 to $20,000 corporate rate, though many offer nonprofit prices.

“It’s always a struggle for (nonprofits),” Civillico said. “You always have to start from zero. Let’s say you have people working with homeless youth. They’re having a big fundraiser, they need some kind of a name, a structure to their event, but they’re starting from scratch.”

Entertainers, he said, might harbor reservations about performing for a charity, concerned the set-up won’t allow them to perform to the best of their ability.

“The idea of Win-Win Entertainment is, if you take away all those things that stand in the middle, the obstacles for talent and charities to work together, then there will be  a lot more shows being done, a lot more performers getting involved with charity and therefore, a lot more good being done,” he said.

Tickets start at $29.99 and can be purchased on Win-Win’s website or at any Caesars box office.