Updated March 11, 2021
In December 2020, MacKenzie Scott, a global philanthropist, author and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, made generous gifts to 300 charities throughout the country including 43 YMCAs. Organizations were chosen from an initial field of 6,490 nonprofit organizations vetted by a team of advisors and a national research firm. The collective impact of her transformational charitable gift was over $4.1 billion dollars. Among the many selection criteria, her team identified organizations with demonstrated impact results, organizational alignment with growing community needs, and high potential for impact. The Green Bay YMCA was fortunate to be selected.
“The incredibly generous gift of 2 million dollars of unrestricted funds comes to us at the Green Bay Y at a time when our community need is at a peak, the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic for our nonprofit community is real, and resources are scarce,” said Sean Elliott, President and CEO. “We have taken the time and had thoughtful community, staff and Board conversations of how to best steward this generous gift and moreover, how to maximize the impact potential of these funds. We have collaborated and sought out feedback with our essential community partners in an effort to integrate them in this process, and we are eager to get to work in the spirit of serving this great community for years to come.”
The charitable gift will allow for the Y to have a greater local impact on chronic disease prevention, community wellness, and virtual fitness programming, just to name a few critical initiatives. The Y will utilize the MacKenzie Scott gift for these initiatives as well as to fund a focused and dedicated staff person to community wellness.
In addition, the Y will launch new youth outreach programs in collaboration with new and existing community partners. The programming component will focus upon closing opportunity gaps for underserved youth in our community and will include initiatives such as Youth in Government, Y Achievers and Safety Around Water. To achieve these goals and grow in these areas, the Y will dedicate a new leadership position and resources to youth program outreach.
Elliott states, “Two dedicated full time positions, Community Wellness Director and Youth Outreach Program Director, will be made possible because of MacKenzie Scott’s gift; both positions and programs under their purview will have a goal of becoming self-sustaining in 3 years with clear impact measures.”
In 2020, the YMCA was shut down for 70 days due to the pandemic which had tremendous negative impact to membership and program revenue that supports Y operating expenditures. The Y responded during closure by providing critical child care needs to front-line workers, partnering to host community blood drives, providing hot showers to the guests of St. John’s homeless center, making senior wellness check calls, and offering a robust menu of virtual classes and at-home workout opportunities. The
community response continues today with Y Learning Academy, a full day virtual learning program for school age children so parents could return to work.
December 11, 2020
We are so grateful for a transformational gift received from MacKenzie Scott.
While we're honored that MacKenzie and her team recognized the impactful work we're doing in our community with youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility...we're even more inspired by the opportunities and encouragement this gift will give us moving forward.