Fate uncertain, Wynn doles out $1m to 10 groups

Museum of Fine Arts, RIZE Massachusetts biggest recipients

WYNN RESORTS doled out nearly $1 million in donations to nine Massachusetts nonprofits and the city of Everett over the last two weeks despite uncertainty about whether the company will be allowed to retain its casino license.

Since the close of three days of hearings by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on April 4, the casino company said it has approved $950,000 in donations to 10 organizations.

A spokesman for Wynn Resorts said the decision to give out the donations was made by CEO Matt Maddox, who faced tough questioning during the three days of Gaming Commission hearings, which focused on the sexual misconduct of Steve Wynn and the company’s response to it.

“I think any other company (or CEO) would place a hold on these until they had final resolution, regardless of what commitment they had made to the community,” said Michael Weaver, the Wynn Resorts spokesman, in an email. “Although a great deal has been written about ‘leadership’ post-hearing, I believe this, in part, is what community leadership looks like.”

The bulk of the money went to three organizations. The Museum of Fine Arts received a $500,000 donation on April 5, one day after the Gaming Commission hearings concluded. The donation was for the exhibit Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris. RIZE Massachusetts, which funds opioid treatment efforts, received $250,000 on April 12. New York-based One Love Foundation, which is focused on relationship abuse, received $150,000 on April 15.

Julie Burns, the executive director of RIZE, said her organization began talking with Wynn Resorts about a donation last fall. She said the organization had no concerns about accepting the funding. “We fully expect that they will be a good neighbor not only to us but the entire community,” she said.

Officials at the Museum of Fine Arts could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Wynn Resorts made $25,000 donations to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Children’s Chorus, and the city of Everett for its annual Village Fest. Three $10,000 donations were made to ROCA Inc., which tries to steer young men away from gangs and street life; the Hispanic American Institute, which promotes social, education, and economic development in Hispanic communities; and the SS Cosmas and Damian Society, which puts on an Italian feast in September. A $2,500 donation went to the Jewish Vocational Service.

The Gaming Commission has been privately discussing what to do with the Wynn Resorts gaming license since April 4. Most observers expect the company to pay a fine and submit to other conditions, but the commission has the authority to strip the casino operator of its license even though the $2.6 billion Everett facility is nearly completed and scheduled to open June 23.