United Way of Racine County receives $5 million donation from MacKenzie Scott

Last updated on February 22nd, 2021 at 02:36 pm

United Way of Racine County has received a $5 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott as part of her multi-billion-dollar donation to charities late last year.

The organization said it will direct the funding to equity innovation, LIFT (Link and Inspire for Tomorrow) community schools initiative, and training and technology for its partnering organizations.

Scott, who is the former wife of Amazon.com chief executive officer Jeff Bezos, announced in December that she had given $4.2 billion to charity. United Way of Racine County and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County were among 50 United Way chapters, and 384 organizations nationally, to receive a donation from Scott.

United Way of Racine County is the smallest of the chapters to receive a donation.

The organization was notified of the gift in late December and has since spent weeks planning and identifying allocations for the donation.

“This is an incredible gift — my entire team and I are thrilled, humbled and overwhelmingly grateful for the recognition and trust from Scott and her team,” said Ali Haigh, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Racine County. “Just as our work is only possible through the combined support of every community member and nonprofit that works alongside us, we want to ensure this donation is used as a gift back to the community. Through the support of Mackenzie Scott and one another, we as a community can open countless new doorways for equity, innovation and collaboration.”

United Way of Racine County’s equity innovation fund will focus on supporting promising startup programs through multi-year gifts, with the potential to duplicate proven programming throughout the community.

The LIFT fund will support the growth of United Way’s community schools partnership with Racine Unified School District, which provides support to staff, families and neighbors at area schools. Currently, the LIFT strategy operates at Knapp Community School and Julian Thomas Community School, and, beginning in fall 2021, Mitchell Community School.

The impact partner training and technology fund is designed to support United Way’s partners in adapting to a changing nonprofit climate, including providing grants to facilitate staff and board trainings as well as access to technology supporting organizational modernization.

“We are honored to be chosen for a gift of this magnitude,” said Steve McLaughlin, United Way of Racine County board chair. “We are blessed in this period of relentless, widespread hardship to have been given the ability to ask not if we will be able to continue offering our community the same support and stability, but in what ways we will do so.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.