When attorney Michael Kling moved to Las Vegas in 1996, he and his wife, Ann, weren’t sure what to expect or how long they’d stay. Flash forward nearly 30 years, and home certainly means Nevada to the Kling family. They found a community in Las Vegas that has supported them and provided opportunities, a gift in itself--a gift that the Kling family works to repay through philanthropic efforts.
Through his years in the Valley, Kling built a successful law practice and has embedded himself in the community that so readily supports him.
“We are truly grateful for the opportunities we have had here and are proud to be a part of this city, so giving back comes naturally,” said Kling.
One of the first groups with which he became involved was the Las Vegas Founders LV, a group of Las Vegas business leaders committed to bringing PGA events to the city. The Founders raised funds for a number of local charities and bolstered community support for junior golf opportunities throughout the Valley.
About 15 years ago, after resuming road cycling, Kling found his cadence as a Huntsman Cancer Foundation Hometown Hero. Originally a means to gain entry into the challenging LoToJa bike race, the partnership quickly grew. “After my first-year racing LoToJa, Hometown Heroes became more than just an event entry; it became a way for me to ride for a cause,” explained Kling.
LoToJa is a grueling single-day, 203-mile race through Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, spanning three mountain ranges. It partners with Hometown Heroes to support cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Foundation.
“I decided to ask for support from family, friends, and clients, claiming that if they donated the dollars, I would ride the miles,” said Kling. “Over the years, I have raised over $250,000 for cancer research.”
LoToJa matches his fundraising, making the effect of Kling’s efforts over time an impressive half-million dollars. “If Huntsman Cancer Foundation can use the funds to develop a cure, or even lessen the impact of cancer, it will be life-changing,” stated Kling.
Capped at 1,500 participants, LoToJa isn’t for the faint at heart, but Kling has taken on the challenge 14 times so far.
“LoToJa is a sufferfest; it requires pushing all your limits to finish, but it doesn’t compare to what family members and friends with cancer have faced,” said Kling. “Those who donate their money in support of my fundraising seem to understand the hope that if cyclists can complete this event, the really hard work of curing cancer can also be accomplished.”
Putting in the effort to benefit others is something Kling continues during the holiday season when his family participates in Desert Spring United Methodist Church’s “A Different Kind of Christmas.”
“Each year, Desert Spring partners with a philanthropy or mission project and asks the congregation to give the gift of supporting that cause over one or more gifts of ‘stuff,’” explained Kling. “Our family enjoys participating in this giving opportunity, and it resonates especially well with our children. We recognize how lucky we have been, in business, with health matters, and in life opportunities in general.”
Following in his footsteps, Kling’s children are finding their own ways to give back to the community.
“One of my greatest inspirations has been watching my children find ways to give back that are meaningful to them,” said Kling. “In helping them understand the importance of philanthropy, I like to believe we are creating a legacy of giving.”
After volunteering for myriad Las Vegas organizations while growing up, Kling’s eldest daughter chose to join a philanthropic-focused sorority that annually raises over $100,000 for their local women’s shelter. Not to be outdone, his youngest daughter joined National Charity League when she was in 8th grade and has volunteered hundreds of hours across the Valley for organizations like Make a Wish Foundation, Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Adam’s Place, and more.
“Getting to know the needs of your community and learning to help in ways that matter is both motivating and fulfilling,” said Kling. “Everyone has the capacity to do something, and every effort will truly help make the world a better place.”