MacKenzie Scott Donates Millions of Her Amazon Wealth to Michigan Nonprofits

This has been the toughest year in Easterseals Michigan’s history, President and CEO Brent Wirth said in a Tuesday press release and LinkedIn post.

The non-profit organization received a $15 million donation from Scott, the largest gift the affiliate has ever received.

“We have worked tirelessly to keep our doors open to families and meet the growing needs of our communities as we face a mental health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wirth said.

The organization ended fiscal 2020 on Sept. 30 with $188,650 in the black on total revenue of $42 million, he said. He was able to avoid staff layoffs and even hired during the pandemic to meet the growing demand for mental health services. The number of people seeking mental health services increased 9%, year over year, to 15,000 in fiscal year 2020.

“We are humbled by this gift from MacKenzie Scott, which is transformational for our organization,” said Wirth. our mission to help children and adults with disabilities lead successful lives.”

The donation to the YWCA comes at a time when the pandemic has caused difficulties for many organizations, said President and CEO Emma Peterson. “And the YWCA is no different.” The nonprofit will use its $1 million donation to support the agency’s programs, including child care and its domestic violence shelter, as well as its general operations.

The Detroit-based YMCA declined to say how much it had been rewarded before receiving Scott’s gift in January, President and CEO Helene Weir said in an email to Crain’s.

“We are truly fortunate and very grateful to be one of 384 charities selected,” she said. “We will plan the use of the funds with the support of our board of directors in the new year.”

United Way for Southeast Michigan received a $25 million donation from Scott, also marking its largest donation to date.

The Detroit-based affiliate has raised $37 million for COVID-19 relief to help nonprofits target basic needs, health care and education needs. While it is phasing out grants from emergency response contributions, it is now reorienting its fundraising and grantmaking towards sustainability and recovery, as Crain is reported in October.

“We are very grateful for this significant gift from Ms. Scott,” President and CEO Darienne Hudson said in a statement. “This kind of bold, forward-thinking support is much appreciated and needed. It will immediately help strengthen what we do every day to help families, children, workers and seniors whose health, lives and means livelihoods have been hit hard by the pandemic.”

United Way said it will design a specific strategy to ensure funds are allocated where they will be most effective in meeting short- and long-term needs and will release details of the plan in the near future.

With the latest round of grants, Scott, 50, has donated about $6 billion to American nonprofits this year, which “has to be one of the largest annual distributions by a living individual. to charity, according to Rockefeller CEO Melissa Berman. Philanthropy Advisors.

Scott’s contributions are in line with his pledge to give away at least half of his wealth over his lifetime as a signatory of the Giving Pledge along with other wealthy people, including Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and the founder and real founder of Rocket Companies Inc. real estate magnate Dan Gilbert and his wife Jennifer.

Scott, who received shares of Amazon as part of a divorce settlement, has seen his wealth soar from $23.6 billion this year to $60.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, while that Amazon.com Inc., the main source of his fortune, surged.

“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” she wrote in her pledge. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time, effort and care. But I will not wait. And I will continue until the vault is empty.”

Scott said the most recent donations were made based on suggestions and insights from hundreds of field experts, funders, leaders and nonprofit volunteers with decades of experience. experience. She noted that her team did further research on 822 nonprofits chosen from an initial pool of nearly 6,500.

He has put 438 of them on hold for the time being, Scott said, to give his team time to further examine evidence of impact, the success of current management teams and issues such as the treatment of community members or employees, while it assesses those for funding.

— Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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