This Chicago-Area Casino Gives Big for Education Tech

In the past, we’ve covered the grantmaking of one casino foundation in the Chicago suburbs that has taken on local philanthropy in a big way. But the Grand Victoria Foundation isn’t the only gaming giver making waves in the Chicagoland area.

Related: Grand Victoria Foundation: Chicago Grants

Rivers Casino is located in suburban Des Plaines and opened for business in 2011. Interestingly, the casino is owned by real estate and casino magnate Neil G. Bluhm, which we’ve covered here at IP as well because of his giving through the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation.

Related: Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation: Chicago Grants

Rivers Casino recently emerged onto our radar when its philanthropic arm, the Rivers Casino Foundation, awarded a $40,000 grant to support local education. The $40,000 is going to the Maryville Jen School and the Maryville Children’s Healthcare Center.

According to the Chicago Tribune, $25,000 of this money will go towards implementing a 3D printing program at the school and $15,000 will go towards buying iPads, laptops, and software to help young patients at the healthcare center with their studies. The school is located in suburban Des Plaines, while the healthcare center is on Chicago’s northwest side.

Over the last few years, this casino foundation has been all about educating and empowering the area’s young residents. Last year, Rivers Casino gave East Maine School District 63 a grant of nearly $30,000 to purchase 90 tablet computers for K-8 students. One interesting thing about this grant is that very few Des Plaines, Illinois addresses are served by District 63. In fact, this school district is primarily located in incorporated Cook County.

A common theme that has emerged in this funder’s giving is education technology. As you can see from these recent examples, Rivers Casino is into providing students with the latest and greatest gadgets to supplement their classroom education. While other funders remain devoted to teacher training and principal engagement, this one is placing its bets on the power of electronic devices. K-8 education groups seem to be favorites of this funder as well.

"Rivers Casino's gifts to local education-based programs are one of many recent charitable initiatives launched to support the communities we do business in," said Greg Carlin, CEO of Midwest Gaming.

Since 2011, the foundation has given millions of dollars to charity. In 2013 alone, the funder committed over $1.5 million to local groups. That year, grant recipients included Albany Park Community Center, Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation, Notre Dame College Prep, and Oakton Community College.

Since this funder doesn’t necessarily restrict itself to only giving in Des Plaines where the casino is located, there are some good opportunities here for nonprofits in various parts of the Chicagoland area too. In addition to its K-8 tech education support, Rivers Casino has also offered scholarships to the University of Illinois and annual scholarships for employees and their family members.

But unfortunately for grantseekers, the casino does not have a separate page on its website for its foundation to outline giving policies and procedures. The casino staff can be reached with general inquiries at 847-795-0777 and rccguestservice@midwestgaming.com.