Longtime Empire City Casino Employee and Midland Park, New Jersey Resident Justin Grasso, a Blood Donation Advocate and Regular Donor, Recognized for Commitment to Life-Saving Volunteerism in New York & New Jersey Communities
Yonkers, NY - Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts (‘Empire City’) is proud to announce that longtime employee and Creative Manager Justin Grasso has been selected as one of three recipients across the country to receive the quarterly MGM Resorts Volunteer Service Award. Grasso was selected as a result of his continued dedication to volunteerism. He is an unwavering advocate for, and supporter of, blood drives as a way to help ensure there is an ample supply of life-saving blood available for patients.
A New Jersey resident, Grasso became a member of the “Gallon Club” in 2022. In 1990, the New York Blood Center (“NYBC”) developed the Gallon Club Program to recognize frequent donors who have donated more than a gallon of blood to save the lives of patients.
Soon, Grasso plans to begin donating platelets, which are very fragile, short-lived blood cells that are essential for normal blood clotting. They must be transfused within seven days of donation, which means they are always needed to ensure availability for hospitals every day. Platelets are often used to treat patients being treated for cancer, those with blood disorders, bone marrow transplant patients, accident victims and others.
Empire City Casino hosts regular blood drives to make it easy for community members and employees to donate blood regularly. Grasso is a regular participant in the blood drives hosted at his workplace, but when he became aware of the continuing blood shortages, he began donating blood every eight weeks to Blood Centers in New York and New Jersey.
Volunteerism is an important part of the MGM Resorts company culture, with employees across the country having exceeded 1 million volunteer hours to local nonprofit organizations. Empire City Casino employees regularly participate in community volunteer efforts. Empire City also recently provided grants to close to a dozen local nonprofits that provide direct services to residents in the local communities in which it operates.
Grasso is a regular participant in these volunteer efforts and the continued selfless giving of this father of two demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the team at Empire City Casino to investing time and resources into local communities through volunteerism, civic engagement, and various philanthropic opportunities.
As a recipient of the Volunteer Service Award, Grasso receives $2,500 to donate to his nonprofit of choice. Despite his commitment to blood donation organizations, Grasso has chosen to direct these funds to The Alzheimer's Association, as he tragically lost his grandparents to the progressive disease which destroys memory and other important cognitive functions. The donation will support the nonprofit’s mission to accelerate global research, drive risk reduction and early detection, and maximize quality care and support. About 410,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, according to the New York State Health Department. That number is expected to grow to 460,000 people by 2025. New York has the dubious distinction of having the nation's second-highest rate of Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias.
“After losing both of my grandparents, I started to think more and more about the heartbreaking fact that so many people suffering from Alzheimer's are losing memories of their loved ones,” said Justin Grasso, Creative Manager at Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. ”I am so thankful to MGM Resorts for not only this honor, but for providing me with both the financial and volunteering opportunities to support causes that mean so much to me.”
Through volunteerism, employee giving and company philanthropy, MGM Resorts instills philanthropic commitment and pride in employees that drive positive social impact in their communities. MGM Resorts has implemented the quarterly Volunteer Service Award initiative to recognize and commend employee volunteerism across its portfolio of properties. The Volunteer Service Award recognizes three employees from across twenty-two MGM Resorts entertainment destinations across the country who have created positive change within their community through volunteerism.
“We are incredibly proud to have employees like Justin on our team who go the extra mile to make such impactful changes,” said Taryn Duffy, Vice President of Public Affairs At Empire City, who oversees philanthropic giving. “We will continue to cultivate an environment where employees have opportunities to volunteer and support local community charitable organizations. It’s a large part of who we are and what we do.”
Grasso’s award is representative of Empire City’s volunteerism in the New York region and parent company MGM Resorts’ overarching commitment to corporate social responsibility. The company’s core philanthropy areas include food insecurity programs to ensure access to nutritious meals, educational programs that support academic success, and workforce development initiatives that provide educational and training programs to prepare individuals for sustainable career opportunities.
To learn more about Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts, please visit www.empirecitycasino.com.
Photo caption: Justin Grasso with $2,500 check for Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
Photo Credit: Sue Johnson, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts