Food And Drinks

MacKenzie Scott’s $4.2B donation includes 6 metro Detroit groups


Metro Detroit’s charities found something – or rather something big – under the tree this year from billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott.

Six community groups received a portion of the $ 4.2 billion Scott donated to 384 charities across the county in the past four months, according to an announcement by Scott on Tuesday.

The unexpected gifts are not binding.

Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO and richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is currently the 18th richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Her team screened 6,490 groups before making donations aimed at addressing the economic problems of the novel coronavirus, she said in her announcement.

The stories she heard from the selected groups made her cry, she said.

“They help by providing vital service and also through the deep encouragement that is felt every time a person is seen, appreciated and trusted by another person,” she said. “This kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger and it affects everyone.”

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These Detroit subway groups will benefit:

United Way for Southeast Michigan

The United Way for Southeast Michigan received $ 25 million from Scott, and it is the largest single donation the group has received, confirmed Jerome Espy, director of public relations.

Exact details of what the money will be used for will be released at a later date after a strategy for its most effective use is established, according to a press release.

The need is great and there is still a lot to be done, said Dr. Darienne Hudson, President and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“This kind of courageous, forward-looking support is much appreciated and needed,” said Hudson. “It will immediately help empower what we do every day to help families, children, workers and seniors whose health, lives and livelihoods have been hard hit by the pandemic.”

Easterseals Michigan

Easterseals Michigan, a nonprofit focused on people with disabilities and special needs, received $ 15 million from Scott.

The gift is “transformative” for the group that provides services such as mental health counseling, occupational therapy and recreational programs, Brent Wirth, president and CEO of Easterseals Michigan, said in a statement.

“2020 was the toughest year in the history of our organization and we have worked tirelessly to keep our doors open to families and to meet the growing needs of our communities as we face a mental crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic Health, “he said.” We are humble at this gift from MacKenzie Scott that is transforming our organization.

“It will allow us to expand our services, meet those we serve where they are through new technology, and most importantly, continue to invest in our mission to help children and adults with disabilities live prosperous lives. “

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Invest in Detroit

Scott’s contribution to Invest Detroit, a community development financial institution, is testament to the group’s work in helping residents and neighborhoods, Randy Hyde, the group’s senior vice president of external relations, said in an email.

Although the group will not yet disclose their exact gift amount, the majority will be used to strengthen and expand the group’s primary credit and investment vehicles, he said. A small part is put into operation.

“Since a gift like this is a rare opportunity, the team is very thoughtful in giving it so we can make sure we’re both thoughtful and effective,” he said.

Forgotten harvest

The Oak Park-based Metro Detroit food rescue group received a “substantial gift,” said Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest, in a statement through the “really incredible” generosity of Scott.

“Our entire organization couldn’t be more appreciative and humble knowing the difference this gift will make in improving the lives of children, families and seniors in our community,” he said. “This is a transformational gift that will enable our organization to further improve the effectiveness of our day-to-day work in tackling food insecurity and reducing excess food waste.”

Community support is still needed, but the donation will help implement ongoing initiatives and work towards the group’s larger goals, he said.

YMCA from Metropolitan Detroit

Metropolitan Detroit’s YMCA plans to release details of the donation once the gift is received in January and finalize the details, CEO Helene Weir said in a statement sent via email.

The organization was “really happy and very grateful” to be selected in its first worst financial crisis in 168 years, Weir said.

“We are honored that our service to Detroiters in major cities is supported,” she said.

YWCA from Metropolitan Detroit

Metropolitan Detroit’s YWCA is a 123-year-old facility that, according to its website, offers childcare, programs for women, and shelter and counseling for women and children fleeing abusive families.

Other Michigan Charities

Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids, Goodwill of Northern Michigan, and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan also received gifts from Scott.

She has agreed to give most of her fortune to philanthropy through the Giving Pledge founded by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

Darcie Moran is a breaking news reporter and podcaster for the Detroit Free Press. She has worked as an investigative reporter covering legal issues, crime, protests, forest fires and government affairs. Contact Moran: [email protected] Twitter: @darciegmoran.

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Dusty Kennedy