Murren-led private sector task force raises $4M, secures medical equipment for Nevada coronavirus battle Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 31, 2020 at 7:19 am A Nevada private sector task force headed by former MGM Resorts executive Jim Murren raised $4 million “in less than 48 hours” and has been successful in securing sources for personal protective equipment for medical workers and much needed COVID-19 testing kits. In a video news conference Monday, Murren, who was asked by Governor Steve Sisolak to chair Nevada’s COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force, said the private donations will be managed by the Nevada Community Foundation and will be used to assist organizations serving “the most immediate needs of the community,” including food and shelter nonprofits. He said the donors and amounts would be listed on the task force’s website, https://nvc19.org/. Murren, who officially resigned from his positions with MGM on March 22, said the state will determine where the money will be directed. He also said the state will determine how the medical supplies and equipment will be utilized. “It is absolutely critical that we use science in the state of Nevada to determine where our most pressing needs are,” Murren said. The Task Force’s mission is to mobilize the private sector in securing supplies, equipment, and funding to meet the community’s most urgent needs. Screenshot of Jim Murren’s video press conference for Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief, and Recovery Task Force Murren announced seven additional members of the task force, three of whom have long-standing ties to the state’s gaming industry: Wynn Resorts Chairman Phil Satre, former Station Casinos executive Scott Nielson, now president of Nielson Consulting, and Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela, a longtime official with Culinary Workers Local 226. In a statement, Sisloak said, “I applaud those who have joined the Task Force to take on one of the toughest challenges in our great state’s history. The support of the private sector in meeting our state’s needs is vital. Together, as one Nevada, we will get through this.” Nevada casinos have been completely shut down since Sisolak ordered their closure by March 17 in an effort to slow the coronavirus spread, leaving more than 206,000 gaming employees out of work. Meanwhile, the state on Monday more than 1,000 people had been diagnosed with the virus while 16 had died from the respiratory illness. Murren said the private sector had already began to step forward in Nevada. The NV Energy Foundation donated $1 million to nine organizations across Nevada while Wynn Resorts on Friday said it procured 240,000 N95-equivalent CDC-approved respirator masks, 600,000 surgical masks, 500,000 pairs of medical gloves and 2,000 medical gowns. MGM Resorts International donated 100,000 surgical masks, 1,000 KN-95 masks and 800 units of goggles to the Nevada healthcare system. Several gaming companies have also donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of meals and food to community nonprofits. He noted the private sector can act faster “than any state or federal agency” and is not constricted by “barriers or red tape.” Murren noted that Nevada, “a small state,” is competing against large states that might be better financed. “We are punching above our weight class because we have this unique network of the private sector procurement companies in the state, and very philanthropic families in the state that will allow us to get the resources we need, to get toward the front of the line instead of the back of the line,” Murren said. He added that Nevada is also competing against the federal government to secure medical supplies, test kits, and medical equipment. Murren said he and others have reached into their Rolodexes of international relationships to seek out sources for much-needed supplies. He said that he had personally reached out to contacts in China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe. He added that Nevada’s private sector companies are a “secret weapon” because of those long-standing ties. “In my case, I’m calling people I’ve known for 10 or 20 years,” Murren said. “And I’m saying, ‘Look, you like Las Vegas. You like coming to Nevada. We need you. We’ve helped you. You need to help us.'” Murren, who is not being paid for his services, had announced plans in February to leave MGM before his contract expired at the end of 2021. He moved up the timeline after he approached Sisolak with the idea of the task force. Murren, who spent more than 20 years with MGM Resorts, including 12 as CEO and chairman, reached a severance agreement with the company for nearly $32 million in salary, bonuses, stock, severance, and monthly consulting fees. Other task force members include NV Energy CEO and President Doug Cannon; Purestar executive Alex Dixon; homebuilder Steve Menzies of Focus Companies; and OptumCare Mountain West Region president Dr. Rob McBeath. “Everyone on the task force brings a unique skill set, and not one invitation to help was declined,” Murren said. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.