MacKenzie Scott gives $10 million of her Amazon wealth to YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit
The YMCA is gathering information on the use of these funds through community feedback in support of some of the short-term challenges related to the pandemic, she said.
Weir said the organization plans to hold discussions with the heads of peer organizations serving youth and families, foundations and other funders and groups such as schools in the area before making recommendations to its board of directors on how to best use the unexpected gift.
The gift will be used to support the three core areas that the YMCA is focused on: family and community; Child and youth development; and health and wellness.
“There are others who work in these three areas … I would like to hear how you think we can lead these important need areas in the community we work in,” Weir said. “I think there are many, many gaps that will take more than that to fill them. But it’s really about complementing and supporting each other to meet the needs of the community.”
The hope is to have a better sense of how the organization will be using the funds by March, Weir said.
Like other nonprofits, the YMCA has received a financial blow from the ongoing pandemic.
The company closed three stores last year and was forced to draw on some of its unrestricted endowment funds, Weir said as its budget shrank from $ 33 million to $ 17 million for 2020.
The YMCA for the entire Metropolitan Detroit Foundation, including permanent and unrestricted funding, is currently about $ 7 million, she said.
“One of the questions we are asking ourselves is how do we get some of this gift for the long-term viability of the YMCA and survive the impact the COVID economy has on our business,” Weir said. “We don’t expect the economy to improve … until vaccines are more readily available. Once they are available, we can have more programs in place that will bring us income as a nonprofit.”
Using part of the gift to strengthen permanent furnishings and to fund short-term running costs could be a possible use, she said. “But we will receive feedback from our board of directors, community leaders, partners and donors, (and) those decisions will ultimately be left to our board of directors,” she added.
The YMCA looks after more than 41,000 children and families each year, including 18,000 children and 11,000 seniors aged 55 and over.
To meet needs during the pandemic, the company expanded its food distribution to families in need and opened learning centers to support virtual learning for young students.
Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this story, MacKenzie Scott’s ranking was misrepresented. She is currently the 20th richest person in the world.