A proud Ellie Ender holds up her Winnie Award for Volunteerism
Ellie Ender credits her mother for spreading a loving atmosphere around the house during her formative years and teaching her the importance of giving back. “My mother was involved with a lot of organizations when I was a child,” says Ender, who was born and raised Jewish. “I think that has rubbed off on me over the years. Maybe I got a little bit of that love from her.”
That she did.
The love which initially came from her mother, Ender has effortlessly injected into Nevada’s largest nonprofit, Opportunity Village, over the last 17 years with her volunteerism. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Ellie on our volunteer team,” says Brittany Holtzclaw, Manager of Community Partnerships at Opportunity Village. “Her dedication, kindness, and giving spirit exemplify what it means to be of service. Not only does Ellie give of her own time, but she also inspires others to do the same – and we rely on that support and expertise year after year, especially in our Magical Forest.”
Established in 1954, Opportunity Village serves nearly 2,000 adults with disabilities annually. Ender has become one of the organization’s most beloved volunteer faces because of the work ethic and sweet nature she brings to every Opportunity Village event and fundraiser.
“Ellie is the linchpin of the volunteer department,” says Francesca Fulciniti, Manager of Sales, Sponsorship & Corporate Outreach at Opportunity Village. “She has a wealth of knowledge about the organization and brings joy, warmth, and positive energy to everything she does. “She’s here pretty much every single night during Magical Forest season (nearly 50 nights).”
During her youth, Ender, a native of Cleveland, watched her mother, Stella Tatt, get actively involved in organizations – many of them Jewish establishments. Years later, Ender recalls those moments as planting the idea of donating her time. After moving to Southern Nevada in 2001, Ender discovered Opportunity Village from her neighbor and former Opportunity Village Senior Grants and Major Gifts Officer, Cary Harned. And she’s called it home ever since.
“Opportunity Village is a wonderful organization,” Ender says. “I really enjoy helping and just seeing how the clients benefit from our love and appreciation of them.” Whether she’s signing guests in, operating the cash register, or managing the Magical Forest’s Gingerbread Café, Ender does it all with a huge smile and warm heart. All while using those lessons her mom taught her years ago.