JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $10 million to Goodwill of North Florida and Southeast Georgia
Goodwill of North Florida, Southeast Georgia -- as well as First Coast YMCA, United Way of Northeast Florida. and 46 other Goodwill organizations across the country -- was among 384 nonprofits to receive $4 billion from Scott.
“We are just blown away here at Goodwill of North Florida because we have received a tremendous, transformative gift from MacKenzie Scott,” said Goodwill of North Florida CEO David Rey, who found out about the gift on Tuesday. “We’re still a little bit of a loss for words.”
Michael Winckler, President and CEO of Goodwill Southeast Georgia, echoed a similar sentiment.
“We are humbled by this incredibly generous donation,” he said
The donation to Goodwill of North Florida and Southeast Georgia -- the largest in their histories -- will allow the organizations to continue its mission across counties it serves, equipping community members with the skills they need to get back to work.
“Ultimately, it’s going to enable us to accelerate our mission programs of removing barriers to employment,” Rey said. “This last year, even through the pandemic, we helped over 3,700 individuals find a job through our 14 counties. We’ll be able to do more.”
Rey added the pandemic has been painful for the nonprofit’s employees, so the timing of the gift is a morale booster.
According to Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, her team selected recipients based on the nonprofit’s capacity to make effective use of funding and because of its strong leadership.
In a blog post, Scott said the money went to organizations that are providing basic needs for those suffering during the pandemic, including food banks, emergency relief funds and support services.
“These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day,” wrote Scott, who is worth an estimated $55 billion.
Scott said her team looked at 6,490 organizations before deciding on the organizations that were chosen.
“We shared each of our gift decisions with program leaders for the first time over the phone, and welcomed them to spend the funding on whatever they believe best serves their efforts,” Scott wrote. “They were told that the entire commitment would be paid upfront and left unrestricted in order to provide them with maximum flexibility. The responses from people who took the calls often included personal stories and tears.”