Nonprofit Spotlight: Rhythm & Rawhide saddles up |

Nonprofit Spotlight: Rhythm & Rawhide saddles up

Evelyn Klatt

The Reno Phil and Reno Rodeo Foundation are climbing back in the saddle for another Rhythm & Rawhide this May. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Don Weir’s Reno Dodge, the country western infused fundraiser will again benefit the two local area nonprofits through this unique partnership. The boot-stomping evening last May raised over $150,000 that was divided between the two organizations.

“At Reno Dodge we are proud to have partnered with the Reno Rodeo Foundation for the last 30 years, as well as supporting the wonderful contributions of the Reno Phil,” said Don Weir, Reno Dodge owner. “It is incredible to see how the proceeds from this event will impact our community directly. We look forward to another fabulous evening.”

Rhythm & Rawhide isn’t your typical charity dinner. You won’t need to worry about polishing your oxfords, digging out your black satin bowtie, or rushing to the dry cleaner before attending this event. Your least dusty cowboy boots, western shirts, and wide-brimmed hats will do. Laura Jackson, musical director and conductor, will lead the Reno Phil along with featured vocalists and Grammy award winning songwriters, Brett James and Chris DeStefano from Nashville’s Music City Hit Makers. In their careers so far, James and DeStefano have written 39 No. 1 hits on the country music charts. The audience will be on their feet with the upbeat tempo of favorite country hits like “It’s America,” “Kick the Dust Up,” and “Hey Girl.”

At their roots, the Reno Phil and Reno Rodeo Foundation are tightly intertwined with a common mission of helping the children in our community. Both of these organizations spend countless hours committed to enriching the lives of families and children.

The Reno Phil is well known as northern Nevada’s largest performing arts organization but what most folks aren’t aware of is the energy the Reno Phil devotes to music education, enrichment, and exposure for thousands of Washoe County and greater northern Nevada and northeastern California school children, families and adults. As federal funds for music education in public schools continue to diminish, the Reno Phil is committed to filling the void, by growing and enhancing its five core education programs in order to give our children the access to the music education they deserve and need.

For a decade now, the Reno Phil has provided free after school violin lessons at Title 1 At Risk elementary schools in our area. Over the last few years, the program has evolved to include cello lessons and Mariachi ensemble instruction. Only about 44 percent of the organization’s operating budget is derived from ticket sales, and it relies on donations from the community to continue fulfilling its mission. The impact of last year’s successful Rhythm & Rawhide rippled throughout the organization and allowed the Reno Phil to grow its music education programs and give our city another wonderful year of orchestral music.

The Reno Rodeo Foundation (RRF) has been enhancing and enriching the lives of northern Nevada families since 1986. The RRF annually assists students with scholarships to attend universities and colleges in Nevada, provides local non-profit organizations with well-deserved grants to support their programs, chooses a child with a critical illness or physical/mental impairments to receive a special “rodeo wish,” conducts a “Denim Drive” in 14 northern Nevada counties each year to clothe children (24/7, 365 days a year) who have been rescued from unsafe homes, and serves as the anchor for large capital projects to improve the lives of children.

The RRF also supports the Reno Rodeo Association’s Reading Roundup literacy program, sharing the three R’s (Reading, Responsibility and Rodeo) to thousands of at risk first graders attending Title 1 schools in Washoe County. The partnership with the Reno Rodeo Association, which provides a portion of the proceeds from the “Wildest, Richest, Rodeo in the West” helps to support many of the foundation’s programs; it also gives a deeper meaning when they say “We Rodeo for the Kids.” The RRF prides itself on collaborating with wonderful organizations, like the Reno Phil, with the intent of creating additional opportunities to serve more children in our community. Funding from last year’s Rhythm & Rawhide event allowed the RRF to directly increase its program allocations by 120 percent. In the 2016-17 fiscal year, the RRF supported almost 60,000 children throughout 14 northern Nevada counties. Over the last 31 years the RRF has provided over $6 million dollars to thousands of northern Nevada children with extraordinary needs.

“We are excited to help bring Rhythm & Rawhide back into the community,” said Larry Frugoli, RRF president. “It’s going to be a wonderful evening benefitting two local organizations that do so much good in our community.”

Rhythm & Rawhide takes place May 19 at the Downtown Reno Ballroom. RSVP in advance by visiting online at or Sponsorship opportunities are available starting at $2,500 and individual tickets are $250 each. Dress is rodeo or country cocktail attire.