The Hop & Mae Adams Foundation

Hop & Mae Adams

The basic principles of The Hop & Mae Adams Foundation (“Mae”) are simple:

Address Root Causes, Not Symptoms

“Mae” Trustees have determined that its charitable investments will focus on root causes for the issues facing Carson City. After substantial study and due diligence, the Trustees believe the key root cause for most of the challenges facing Carson City is economic: a lack of good paying jobs and careers in Carson City for Carson City residents. As various experts have pointed out, financial stress on citizens and families is at the heart of all subsequent ills in the city. Developing good paying jobs and career opportunities for Carson City residents is thus the key focus of the Foundation.

Carson City in Charge of its own Economic and Educational Future

Addressing the key root cause, the challenge to “Mae” then becomes: “Which comes first, the jobs or the skills for those jobs?” The Foundation has determined it must address both careers and the capabilities of workers in a simultaneous and synergistic way. This challenge is also a national and global issue; however, “Mae” believes it is errant to wait or hope that the efforts of others may bleed over into Carson City to address this root cause. The Foundation has determined to bring Carson City the tools proven to address economic and educational issues. “Mae” wants to help Carson City to map and execute its own economic and educational destiny.

The Use of Leverage

Although the challenges before the Foundation and Carson City are financially trying, “Mae” believes that resources can be leveraged to achieve sustainable recovery and growth. Creating sustainable solutions is the focus of the Foundation. We work with other public and private agencies, institutions, and non-profits in creating efforts that can become self-sustaining, positioned to continue without further need for funding.

Invest Aggressively in Carson City

Foundations generally invest their core assets in the global marketplace and then use a percentage of their investment gains on those assets to provide charitable donations to fit their mission. Thus, they never exhaust their core assets, but rather pay out a portion of the gain on those assets. “Mae” believes they must take a more aggressive course at this time to address the severe economic issues facing the Carson City community. “Mae” has converted much of its core assets, which were outside of Nevada, with the intent to then invest a substantial portion of those assets in the Carson City community. “Mae” believes these aggressive investment tactics will create sustainable opportunity for economic growth and community vitality Carson.

Future Relevance

The Hop & Mae Adams Foundation is focused on solutions that provide long-term viability. The solutions implemented today, must be forward looking to ensure they will remain relevant for many years to come.


The Hop & Mae Adans Foundation is managed by three Trustees. They are responsible for maintaining the Foundation’s vision, priorities and funding allocations.

Steve Neighbors

Steve Neighbors brings a business perspective to the Foundation. Steve earned the 1986 Idaho Governor’s “Businessman of the Year” Award and an article that same year in Inc. Magazine. He has accomplished several dozen successful business restructurings and turnarounds since then. Steve has a master’s degree in business from George Fox University, a post grad certification in “Strategy and Innovation” from MIT, and a certificate in “Turnaround Management Strategies” from Harvard Business School. He is certified financial analyst, a business valuator, a certified merger and acquisition professional. Steve maintains an aggressive effort to stay current and up to date with schooling opportunities even to this day. He tries to stay current with global economic and educational issues, including even attending the European Economic Summit held in Berlin a few years ago. Even with his efforts to stay current in his business field, Steve maintains the lessons he really values are those learned in the trenches and tough knocks in business. He is “street-trained” as he puts it.

Steve’s street training started when he had to learn how to be self-sufficient as a street kid. He was in and out of foster homes, even spending a short time in the Carson Children’s Home at a young age during custody hearings. He started sweeping parking lots from the age of 9, at the Nugget Casino in Sparks as well as other parking lots on his “route,” all to help support himself and his siblings. He was moved to Boise at the age of 12, where he again started his sweeping business which grew into other fields eventually developing into a heavy-highway construction company that performed projects in over 35 states. His company maintained a 100% growth rate per year for 11 consecutive years, until Steve broke the business into separate entities in the 12th year. Steve also started over a dozen other businesses during this time. After incubating them to stand-alone success, he spun them out, giving them to key employees.

Steve’s involvement in Carson of late began when the Boise side of the Adams family hired Steve to help them on business issues at the Carson Nugget. Steve was selected from a number of candidates after substantial due diligence by the family attorney, Andy McKenzie.

All of the Adams family has come to respect and trust Steve implicitly over the years. When it came time to determine who would manage Mae’s estate, Steve was a natural choice. His childhood resonated with Mae and her experiences in her life. The two found deep harmony between their respective business and community perspectives. Mae Adams, with the help of her attorneys, then set up the Hop & Mae Adams Foundation to execute the agenda that reflected their common worldview.

Information on Steve’s current company, Strategic and Operational Solutions, can be found at

Andrew “Andy” MacKenzie

A native Nevadan, Andy MacKenzie is and was born in Lyon County and graduated from Yerington High School in 1959. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada in 1963 and graduated from the Georgetown School of Law in 1966.

Andy co-founded the Carson City based law offices of Allison MacKenzie out of the firm known as Laxalt, Berry and Allison, which was founded in 1968. He is a member of the Washoe County Bar Association, First Judicial District Bar Association, American Bar Association and The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. He has been affiliated with the State of Nevada Judicial Selection Commission, the State Bar of Nevada Fee Dispute Committee and the U. S. District Court Magistrate Selection Panel. He had a two-year tour with the U. S. Army from 1967-1969 and attained the grade of Captain.

As trusted legal council for the Carson City Nugget and the Adams family for many years, Andy’s relationship naturally expanded to assist in the creation of the Hop & Mae Adams Foundation. He embraced his additional role and now serves as Trustee.

Ed Ahrens

Ed is a partner in Aherns DeAngeli Law Group (ADLG). Recognized as one of the top estate planning attorneys in the nation, Ed Ahrens has represented some of America’s wealthiest individuals and families during his 40-year career. Prior to the formation of ADLG, Ed led the estate planning practices of several highly respected law firms, and, as a director at Arthur Andersen, was a member of the accounting firm’s national family wealth planning specialty team. Ed is an accomplished author and speaker and has served on numerous boards of public charities and private foundations. You might expect someone in practice for forty years to be set in his ways, but Ed is constantly striving to learn new and better ways to do things. Recently, after being advised by one of his partners that a little yelling helps to punctuate an important point, Ed nearly spoke in a harsh tone.

J.D., University of Idaho (1971); Idaho Law Review
B.A. Economics, University of Idaho (1968)

Professional Recognition:
Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates, Litigation–Trusts and Estates
Martindale Hubble AV rated

Bar and Court Admissions:
United States Tax Court
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
United States District Court for the District of Idaho