Gift to accelerate the Y’s innovation and outreach efforts and expand local equity initiatives
HOUSTON (December 15, 2020) – The YMCA of Greater Houston received a transformational gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The $18 million gift is the YMCA of Greater Houston’s single largest donation in its 134-year history. It will lay the groundwork for the organization to accelerate innovation, expand community outreach programs, advance equity work, and provide an avenue for all in the community to not just speak change, but to truly spark it through YMCA involvement as an Impact Member.
“We are honored MacKenzie Scott recognized the YMCA of Greater Houston for the impact we have made on the Houston community. This gift reflects our long-standing history of being an integral part of the community and our ability to respond and reinvent to meet pressing needs as they arise. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the financial support of many,” said Stephen Ives, President and CEO, the YMCA of Greater Houston. “When COVID-19 forced us to stop traditional activities in our buildings, our staff pivoted from their normal duties and went out to help the community in their greatest time of need. From spending hours outside distributing food to families in need to fighting for racial inequities, our courageous team stepped up to the plate because it was the right thing to do. After a loss this year of $50 million dollars of revenue, this gift will allow us to stay the course and amplify our efforts.”
Last year, MacKenzie Scott pledged to give the majority of her wealth back to the society that helped generate it. As 2020 unfolded, she identified 116 organizations driving change in the areas of Racial Equality, LGBTQ + Equity, Public Health, Climate Change and more and gifted $1.7 billion.
Today’s announcement is a continuation of her commitment acknowledging organizations, such as the YMCA of Greater Houston, that are operating in communities facing high projected food insecurities, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.
“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,” states MacKenzie Scott – mom, writer and advocate. “They help by delivering vital services, and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being – this kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone.”
The YMCA of Greater Houston will use the $18 million gift to sustain current efforts as well as help move forward with refined initiatives that end isolation, fight inequality, inspire youth to thrive, remove limits and reimagine opportunities for all, and restore hope and well-being for refugees and immigrants.
This gift is a generous launching pad to support the Y as the continued work in the community aims to support issues impacting Houstonians each and every day. The community need is great, and despite current challenges, the Y is committed to addressing critical needs, but they can’t do it without the community’s help.
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About YMCA of Greater Houston
Founded in 1886, today the Y remains committed to the health of more than half a million people in Greater Houston who learn, grow and thrive through programs and services at our 25 centers. Strengthening community is our cause. Together, we connect active, engaged Greater Houston Area residents to build a better us.