Humanitarian of the Year:

Angel Awards: Diana Bennett

Diana Bennett

Diana Bennett, president of the Bennett Family Foundation, is a second-generation casino operator who was schooled in philanthropy by her father, gaming icon William Bennett. That schooling has led to work that touches millions of lives.

“My father was a quiet philanthropist who would give back to the community at any and all opportunities, from making anonymous donations to the families of fallen police officers to feeding striking union workers,” Bennett said.

To that end, Bennett, who is also the CEO and co-founder of Paragon Gaming, founded the Bennett Family Foundation. It has helped a number of organizations: Three Square, Noah’s Animal House at the Shade Tree Women’s Shelter, Communities In Schools of Nevada, Child Focus and the Children’s Heart Foundation.

In helping the children of Southern Nevada, Bennett has seen her seeds of philanthropy take root.

“What inspires me each day is seeing the joy in children who give to other children they believe are in more need than they are,” she said.

“There is great joy in helping others, no matter what age.”

In addition to her work with the foundation, she is vice chairwoman for the UNLV Foundation; sits on the board of Noah’s Animal House; has served as chair of the National Children’s Miracle Network for the University Medical Center Foundation; has served on the board of the I Have A Dream Foundation; and was a founding board member of The Smith Center. She also underwrites Three Square’s annual Fashion for a Cause, an event that has raised millions to fight childhood hunger — and is a vocal cheerleader and champion for Southern Nevada.

“I love to tell people who don’t live here and visit or have never been here that we are truly an amazing place that is giving and caring,” she said.