- March 18, 2022
At least five nonprofit organizations in the region have received significant donations from Mackenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Scott, in a Dec. 15 blog post on Medium, announced she had given $4.16 billion to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
The United Way Suncoast, which works in communities in Tampa Bay, Sarasota and Manatee counties, received $20 million, according to a statement from the organization. Other organizations in the area among the 384 entitles in Scott’s Medium post include Easterseals Southwest Florida, which works with children, youth and adults with special needs in Sarasota and Manatee counties; Goodwill Manasota; Meals on Wheels of Tampa; Meals of Wheels Plus of Manatee; and the Sky Family YMCA, which has branches in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties. Scott’s blog post didn’t include a breakdown of the amount given to each nonprofit.
Scott, in explaining her decision to give the funds away and the organizations she chose, says she and a team of advisors “took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates and low access to philanthropic capital.”
United Way Suncoast, meanwhile, in a separate statement, calls Scott’s $20 million unsolicited gift the largest in its 96-year history.
“Ignited by the generosity of one selfless donor, this gift will have a ripple effect on millions,” United Way Suncoast President and CEO Jessica Muroff says in the release. “Overnight, the game has changed. Impact will no longer be measured in years – it will be measured for generations.”
“This gift is truly transformational,” Muroff adds. “It will allow us to work deeper in our communities, more powerfully leverage our great partnerships and, most importantly, build more pathways to success for families in our communities.”
United Way Suncoast, the release states, will use the gift to further its mission of improving lives and creating lasting community change by mobilizing the caring people of our communities to give, advocate and volunteer throughout the five counties it serves.