Seattle YMCA Puts $18 Million Scott Gift to Work to Advance Equity & Justice for All in Transformative Community Programs and Services
Last updated: June 9, 2021, at 7:05 a.m. PT
Originally published: June 3, 2021, at 1:22 p.m. PT
Seattle Y invests major gift to extend operations and reduce barriers in health and education rooted inequities across the region.
SEATTLE, WA – The YMCA of Greater Seattle received a $18 million major gift from MacKenzie Scott, renowned philanthropist, which validates the Y’s long history of serving others and in particular, its leadership in community building and its commitment to equity and justice for all. The Y has put this gift to work immediately in helping to provide support to the community and to advance the work of the Y’s Equity & Justice Center of Excellence.
“Our collective progress as a community is critical to disrupting oppressive systems and barriers that impede equity and justice for all. With this generous gift, we are joining others in this work to transform the Y to be a producer of the next generation of equity and justice leaders. These leaders will be equipped and practiced in building inclusive and just communities centered on whole person health, resilient youth, families, and communities, and a healthy planet. We look forward to others walking alongside us in this critical work for a better us,“ Loria Yeadon, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle said.
This gift was much needed especially in view of significant financial and staff challenges we endured, including the need to place 78% of our staff on standby, overwhelming unemployment insurance expenses as a self-insured nonprofit, ineligibility for Payroll Protection Plan in 2020, escalating cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to keep our staff and members safe, and increased financial support for communities that needed us most. As we move towards recovery, rebuild, and make critical investments, we have been humbled to have this gift as a lifeline while we continue to show up for community knowing that it will take years to rebuild our financial outlook to 2019 levels.
Thanks to this historic investment from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the Y is able to not only recover from the impact of the pandemic, but also work on innovating and piloting community-based solutions to meet our most pressing challenges. In addition to investments in Y staff wages, bonuses, training, and development implemented earlier this year including raising minimum wages to $16.69 per hour across the region, here are a few examples of how these investments are being put to work for community, with a focus on underserved communities especially Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color:
- Recovering from the negative economic impacts of the pandemic
- Piloting free early learning to improve kindergarten readiness
- Offering free broadband access, leveraging our accessible facilities across the region
- Elevating Whole Person Health to eliminate health inequities and piloting a community navigation hub offering trauma-informed care and support
- Offering accessible vaccines and vaccination education to address vaccine hesitancy and the disproportionate health outcomes laid bare by COVID-19
- Expanding access to technology and virtual whole person health programs
The mission of the Y is that all people, especially the young, have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body. It is through equitable pathways in early childhood education, Whole Person Health, access to technology, and vaccine support that the Y aims to address systemic inequalities and eliminate barriers for underserved communities across the region.
Learn more about the impact of the Y and this historic gift in our 2020 Annual Report.
About the YMCA of Greater Seattle
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is the Northwest’s leading nonprofit organization strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 265,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities, and financial circumstances annually through 14 branches, two overnight camps, and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties. The Y nurtures more than 137,000 kids and teens to develop their gifts and give back to our community and engages thousands of volunteers who contribute hundreds of thousands of hours of service each year. Visit seattleymca.org.
For more information about the YMCA of Greater Seattle, email firstname.lastname@example.org.