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MacKenzie Scott Makes Transformative $40M Gift to LISC

With the largest gift from an individual in LISC’s history, MacKenzie Scott is fueling transformative efforts to advance racial and economic justice and building a broadly shared prosperity throughout the country. Scott said organizations like LISC are “well-positioned to accelerate progress.”

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is donating an extraordinary $40 million unrestricted grant to LISC.  It is the largest gift from an individual in LISC’s 40-year history—one that not only speaks to the value of LISC’s ongoing efforts but also to the power and efficacy of community development, as a whole, to help advance racial and economic justice and spur opportunity throughout the country, according to Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO.

“This is a catalytic gift to support vital and meaningful work,” Jones said. “We are humbled and incredibly grateful to MacKenzie for her generosity, creativity, confidence and vision—using her resources in bold ways to invest in efforts to create and sustain stronger futures for American families and communities for many years to come.”

“We are humbled and incredibly grateful to MacKenzie—using her resources in bold ways to invest in efforts to create and sustain stronger futures for American families and communities for many years to come.”
— Maurice A. Jones, LISC CEO

Jones said a gift of this size and quality will be transformative because it will seed new capacity, nurture innovation and expand the scale of proven, effective approaches. “This is more than an investment in LISC,” he said. “It is an investment in the efforts of our partners all across the country as they fight to advance racial and economic justice, protect, preserve and produce quality affordable housing, support existing and new small businesses, improve the social determinants of health and wellbeing, strengthen education and expand access for people of color and others to quality jobs. It has a remarkable reach.”

In a Medium post announcing her giving priorities, Scott pointed to the heart-breaking challenges of 2020.  “Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable.”

She also expressed optimism, noting that organizations like LISC are well-positioned to accelerate progress. “What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change.”

Jones agreed that this funding is particularly important in this moment, as COVID-19 and the recession continue to lay bare the deep race and class disparities that limit opportunities for millions of Americans.

“As a country, we are at a crossroads,” he stressed. “We cannot continue to leave millions of people behind, no matter how hard they work, and treat it as a normal byproduct of the American economy. Everyone, regardless of their race, class or ZIP code, should have the opportunity to thrive, and contribute to a broadly shared prosperity. That’s what all of us at LISC are focused on every day.”

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MacKenzie Scott's statement following up on the commitment made last year to give away the majority of her wealth in her lifetime.

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