The YMCA of Greater Charlotte recently announced details and plans for Mackenzie Scott gift.
A national announcement in December 2020 named the Charlotte Y among a distinguished list of organizations nationwide to receive a gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott – a gift of $18 million. This surprise contribution at the end of the most difficult year in the organization’s history is the largest gift the organization has ever received.
“Last year, as we quickly realized COVID-19 was going to be a long-term crisis and we saw our revenues decline by $40 million,” said Todd Tibbits, the president and CEO of the Charlotte Y in a statement. “We knew we would need to be a different organization on the other side of the pandemic, with an evolved business model, and focused priorities. Ms. Scott’s gift allows us to put those plans in motion, and in a bigger way than we had originally anticipated.”
Scott’s representatives shared with Y leadership the Charlotte Y’s priorities align with her values including racial equity, upward mobility, gender equity and pandemic response. Considering the Y’s existing plans and Scott’s request, a strategy and community investment task force made up of community leader Y volunteers recommended the transformational funds be used with a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through health equity initiatives and youth and teen opportunity.
The Y’s health equity initiatives will address issues surrounding access in underserved communities. Plans include increasing access to healthy food and nutrition education, empowering families and individuals to eat healthy, increasing access to care and mental health services and expanding chronic disease prevention services.
Youth and teen opportunity initiatives will specifically focus on underserved neighborhoods. Building on the ongoing generous support of annual donors, along with the success of the Y’s existing summer programs for youth and teens, combined with the boost that programming received last summer through funding from the city of Charlotte, the Y is primed to further amplify its offerings, service and access to youth and teens who need it most.
Additionally, through community partnerships with a common vision for health equity and upward mobility, the Y plans to transform some of its existing locations into health equity campuses, where community members will have equitable access to resources and opportunities designed to promote overall health and well-being.
While the financial impact of the pandemic has significantly impacted the Y and there is still long-term uncertainty, this gift is a catalyst that allows the organization to make several long-standing plans a reality, and amplify and grow its resources in the communities it currently serves with an initial focus on the West Boulevard and Beatties Ford corridors.
“This is not a ‘one-and-done’ project – this is the beginning of an exciting transformation for our organization, and one that will require strategic partnerships and philanthropic investment to sustain this bold and catalytic vision in the years to come,” said Tibbits in a statement. “We come into this work with a deep understanding this is what our community needs and what our YMCA is called to be. We have always been much more than a ‘gym and swim’ and now we can elevate our community work more than ever before.”