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MacKenzie Scott makes historic $122.6 million donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters to mentor kids

It is the highest donation from an individual the nonprofit has ever received since its founding in 1904.

MacKenzie Scott makes historic $122.6 million donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters to mentor kids
Cover Image Source: MacKenzie Scott attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott just gave Big Brothers Big Sisters of America a gift that will change the lives of millions of young people around the country. According to TODAY, the billionaire philanthropist has donated $122.6 million to the organization—the highest donation from an individual the nonprofit has ever received since its founding in 1904. "What I would want to say is first of all, thank you," said Artis Stevens, the president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. "And how proud we are of this moment, how proud we are of what this is going to mean for so many different communities."



 

"And here's what we know, in this country, that no one organization, no one person, can do it alone. We see this investment as not just an investment in our organization, it's an invitation. It's an invitation for more people to join causes like ours to support local communities," Stevens added. Speaking to NPR, he revealed that he "was in awe" when he found out about the massive donation via a phone call from a representative for Scott. "They told me the information and told me the number and I was floating on cloud nine," he said.



 

"When I got the call, they told me the number and I just started dancing," Stevens recounted. "I think every dance I've learned since I was 10 years old. My 14- and 12-year-old girls were on the other side (of the room), and they looked at me and they screamed up to their mom saying, 'Mom, something's wrong with dad!'" According to a statement, Scott's donation will support BBBSA and 38 of its local agencies, "in furthering its mission to ensure every young person has access to powerful mentoring experiences that empower them for success in school, life and career."



 

Stevens shared that the organization currently matches some 250,000 adult mentors with young people around the country. The incredibly generous donation from Scott "will create access to millions more mentoring experiences by deepening our 1:1 relationships and expanding new ways to mentor kids," said a spokesperson. Meanwhile, Scott explained that her gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters is to help the organization's strategic vision, commitment to equity and leadership. "It is transformative, and it’s going to mean so much for our communities, for our people on the ground, the staff and volunteers who work hard every single day to make a difference in kids' lives," Stevens said.



 

More than 12 million children in the U.S. reportedly live in poverty and more than 13 million young people experience emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions like depression. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, "during the height of the pandemic, 20 percent of youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters lost contact with an important adult in their lives." About 40% of the organization's work is done through schools. When the pandemic forced schools to switch to virtual classrooms, volunteers changed course by delivering food, setting up homework help in front yards and Wi-Fi in communities, according to Stevens.



 

Big Brothers Big Sisters works with young people seeking career mentoring. "Our fastest-growing population today that we're serving is 18 to 25 young adults because they're graduating and they're asking, 'What's next for me?'" Stevens explained. "And this is an opportunity for us to help kids and help that career path and also help our companies, communities and our country to really think about a talent pipeline."

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