For Immediate Release

Noted Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Invests in the Mission of Easterseals

Easterseals Central Illinois Among Beneficiaries of MacKenzie Scott Philanthropic Gifts Announced Today

Peoria, IL , December 15, 2020

Media Contact:
Megan Pedigo

Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced today that she has made an unrestricted transformational gift to Easterseals Central Illinois, and 21 other Easterseals Affiliates nationwide.  The Easterseals National office also benefited from her philanthropy and together will continue to support life-changing services and powerful advocacy for the one in four Americans living with disabilities today.


In announcing today the 384 organizations to benefit from her philanthropy, Ms. Scott indicated that she’d asked a team of advisors to accelerate her 2020 giving to immediately support people suffering the economic effects of the pandemic.  “We do our research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” said Ms. Scott.  “Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft. Not only are non-profits chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fundraising, and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them. These 384 carefully selected organizations 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. 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.”


She continued, “The response from these organizations in talking with us often included personal stories and tears which invariably made me and my teammates cry.  This kind of chain reaction was captured perfectly by a longtime advocate for people with disabilities: ‘We work with people who have been marginalized for many reasons.  Some of our greatest moments of success come through small gestures when a client’s hope is restored.  Feeling valued is an amazing sensation.  I see the eyes of our clients light up when their efforts are appreciated.  Good begets good.  I have always believed this, but I have been sorely tested over the past few years.’  Scott added, “Me too.”

Easterseals Central Illinois and the nationwide Easterseals Network both have roots tracing back to 1919. Both locally and nationally Easterseals shares a history of rising to meet the emergent needs being faced by children with disabilities, developmental delays and other special needs. Easterseals Central Illinois has a strong focus on pediatric therapy, child development and family support. Over the last year, Easterseals Central Illinois has shown exemplary leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, quickly adapting its programs and protocols to continue to be an unwavering partner for families. Easterseals Central Illinois serves over 7,000 families each year through pediatric therapy services, early intervention, the Easterseals Learning Academy and Timber Pointe Outdoor Center.

“We envision a world where every child is 100% included and 100% empowered. We are extremely grateful to MacKenzie Scott for this remarkable gift that helps move us towards achieving that vision.” said Steve Thompson, President and CEO of Easterseals Central Illinois. “This transformational gift is an investment in our vision for the future and further amplifies the impact made by our supporters over the last 100 years.”

Ms. Scott signed the Giving Pledge in 2019, a project that encourages billionaires to promise to give away at least half of their wealth throughout their lifetime.  Wealthy individuals including Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates as well as Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin have also signed the Giving Pledge.  

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About Easterseals Central Illinois

Easterseals Central Illinois is driven by its mission to provide exceptional services to ensure that children with developmental delays, disabilities and other special needs can reach their full potential. In 2019, Easterseals Central Illinois served over 7,000 children and their families from six locations throughout central Illinois.

For 100 years, Easterseals Central Illinois has been an advocate and champion for children with developmental delays, disabilities, and other special needs in our community. We provide diagnostic, education, therapeutic and recreation services along with family support and community programs. The vision that drives us into our second century of service is a future in which all children are 100% included, 100% empowered. Learn more at


About Easterseals 

Driven by its purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, including veterans and seniors, as well as their families and communities for more than 100 years.  Together, its national network of Affiliates serves 1.5 million people annually through high-quality services and powerful advocacy.  Its services include early intervention; autism services; medical rehabilitation including physical, occupational, and speech therapies; behavioral health; workforce development; adult day programs; and more.  In schools, workplaces, and communities, Easterseals is fostering environments where everyone is included and valued – making a real and positive impact on us all.  Join us in ensuring that everyone – regardless of age or ability – is 100% included and 100% empowered to fully participate in life.  Learn more at



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