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HONOREE & KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Billy was raised by his grandmother in the small town of Munfordville, Kentucky, in a home with no running water or indoor plumbing. Billy’s grandmother imparted on him an unshakeable work ethic and the importance of kindness and generosity to those suffering, those less fortunate, or those otherwise down on their luck – values that have shaped Billy’s life and successes.
Starting in grade school, Billy held multiple jobs at one time, from paper routes to pumping gas, from farm and factory work to eventually becoming a car salesman.
From these humble beginnings, Billy Walters went on to become a legendary sports gambler and champion poker player, winning the No Limit Hold ‘Em tournament at the 1986 Super Bowl of Poker.
In 1988, after retiring from the world of poker and non-sports gambling, Billy and his wife started their own company, growing to an enterprise with approximately 2,000 employees. Beginning with investments in commercial and residential real estate, The Walters Group also entered the golf industry, purchasing, renovating, operating, and selling golf and country clubs around the United States. Today, The Walters Group has diversified holdings in real estate, a golf course, car dealerships and a range of startups.
Billy considers his greatest and longest-lasting achievement to be his philanthropic activities and unwavering devotion to helping the people around him.
He has been a frequent donor, volunteer, and patron of nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving not just Las Vegas, but communities around the country. Billy and Susan were honored as Las Vegas Philanthropists of the Year in 1997.
Nearest to the Walters’ heart is Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit that provides employment, vocational training, and recreation services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Inspired in part by his son Scott, who at the age of seven underwent surgery for a brain tumor that left him with significant brain damage and limited ability to care for himself, Walters has been a consistent and dedicated advocate for Opportunity Village for the past 20-plus years.
Countless other organizations have benefited from Billy’s generosity. The Walters’ have made meaningful contributions to the Nevada Cancer Institute, Nathan Adelson Hospice, the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, Nevada State College in Henderson, the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund and for Clark County military families facing financial hardship. He has sponsored Boy Scout Good Turn, a program responsible for collecting 467 tons of food through the Scouting for Food project and the Las Vegas Sun Camp Fund, a scholarship for Southern Nevada’s kids to attend summer camp. The Walters’ also donated the “The Walters Family Classroom” to the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. Huge animal lovers, the Walters’ helped open the Lied Animal Shelter, the first no-kill shelter in Las Vegas, and created a $250,000 veterinary scholarship fund.
In 2017, Billy was convicted of insider trading in a case marred by government misconduct. He was sentenced to five years in prison and paid $43 million to the government, despite a recommendation from the U.S. Probation Office that he receive a sentence of 366 days and a $10 million fine. One-hundred friends, ranging from his employees to professional athletes to powerful Washington politicians, wrote letters in support of Walters.
On January 20, 2021, Billy was granted a presidential commutation. The White House stated, “In addition to his established reputation in the sports and gaming industry, Mr. Walters is well known for his philanthropic efforts and was previously named Las Vegas’ Philanthropist of the Year.”
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Today, as the founder and CEO of Taking Action for Good, Alice puts human faces to problems in our justice system and provides a powerful voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves. She focuses on promoting second chances and a fair justice system. Her story is chronicled in her memoir, After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom.
Alice was honored as one of four women designated as a “Women’s Right Defender” at the United Nations on International Women’s Day and received the CAOC Advocate for Justice Award in 2019. She was awarded The Dream Blazer award by the US Dream Academy and a Community Advocacy award by the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice in 2020 and in 2021 was named an Ebony Power 100 Honoree. She’s also been featured in several published books and documentaries. She has appeared on numerous media outlets advocating for criminal justice reform and has been a featured speaker and panelist at countless events and summits, such as the National Civil Rights Museum Catalyst for Change series. She’s an ambassador for the Stand Together Foundation and a board member for the Duke University Wilson Center for Science and Justice, and Ready Life, a fintech platform.
Her fight continues!”