One year after author and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott used her Medium blog to launch a new brand of giving, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County was one of 46 United Ways that joined forces to demonstrate the collective power of her gifts across the country.
In a Medium blog post titled “The United Way 46: One Year Later,” the United Ways chronicle the impact of Scott’s giving across their local communities, which range from urban to suburban to rural. From providing basic needs and rebuilding supports in the aftermath of natural disasters to tackling systemic inequities by bolstering Black-led businesses and nonprofits and stabilizing vulnerable critical sectors such as childcare, Scott is helping build stronger, more equitable communities, according to the blog post.
“Her giving allowed us to accelerate projects, dream up innovative ideas, and leverage the funds with purpose – just as she hoped, reads the United Way 46 blog post. “Thank you to Ms. Scott for seeing us for who we are … innovative changemakers implicitly focused on equity and inclusion.”
At United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, Scott’s $20 million gift has already had a tangible impact on the community, improving life for those facing the greatest need – families struggling to make ends meet, including ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and households in poverty, said Chris Martin, president and CEO. A recent study shows these households were especially hard hit throughout the pandemic, losing employment income at a markedly higher rate than middle class and high-income families.
With Scott’s significant financial support, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County was able to address the needs of this vulnerable population by investing in and expanding the Dual Generation Initiative, a family-centered model designed to disrupt the cycle of poverty.
“The transformational gift from MacKenzie Scott made it possible to expand our existing Dual Generation Initiative to two communities on the East and West Sides that have experienced decades of poverty, food insecurity and barriers to social and economic mobility,” said Martin. One community is home to the largest concentration of African American families and the other is a predominantly Latinx neighborhood; both have experienced poverty for multiple generations. This gift will help over 900 children and 900 parents achieve family self-sufficiency over the next five years.
In addition, Scott’s gift allowed United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County to establish a $3 million matching gift opportunity to inspire other community leaders to invest in the local, 82-year-old nonprofit’s future.
“We were humbled by the faith Ms. Scott placed in us to achieve results and our team set out immediately to maximize this gift for local ALICE families for years to come,” said Lisa Friel, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County Board Chair and former managing partner of EY’s San Antonio office. “We invite others to follow Ms. Scott’s lead and provide children, students, individuals and families hope by investing for the common good.”
In addition to the on-the-ground action these United Ways took, Scott’s gift also sparked a learning community among these 46 United Ways. Singled out by Scott for their strong leadership and results, this cohort has swapped insights and learnings as they put Scott’s gift into action, said Martin.
“As Ms. Scott wrote, her gifts are already creating a value beyond what was initially imagined,” Martin added. “And we’re just getting started.”