Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has made an unrestricted, transformational gift of $6 million to Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati to support its work with people living with disabilities, veterans and military families, and those facing economic disadvantages.
“This gift arrived just as we are finalizing our strategic plan for the next five years. A gift like this makes things possible that we hadn’t even imagined before,” said Pam Green, President and CEO of Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati. “MacKenzie Scott’s generosity gives us an opportunity to dream bigger in how we can serve our community so even more people can experience the pride of employment and greater independence.”
Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati is one of 384 nonprofit organizations selected by Ms. Scott following a national review of 6,490 organizations. She asked a team of nonprofit advisers to help her identify organizations that have directly helped marginalized groups.
“They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” Scott said in her announcement.
She added, “I recommend Easterseals and the other organizations I’ve supported to anyone similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress. Every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Easterseals has focused on building a more diverse and inclusive workforce in Greater Cincinnati for more than 40 years. It offers a variety of in-school and post-secondary job development services for adults with developmental disabilities along with adult day services for those who want to remain active in the community but do not wish to work or have reached retirement age.
The agency offers programs to prepare individuals facing economic disadvantages for sustainable employment in in-demand careers. The Easterseals construction pathway offers both debt-free credentialed training along with paid work experiences at the pre-apprenticeship level. The Easterseals FastTrac construction training program was recognized in the Google.org Impact Challenge as one of the top five most innovative programs in Ohio for creating economic inclusion.
Easterseals Prosperity for All is designed to break generational cycles of poverty by empowering lower-income adults to identify and manage barriers while focusing on career development and greater independence. Easterseals Career Connection provides career development and support for young adults through a partnership with the Workforce Development Board of Bulter, Clermont, Warren and OhioMeansJobs.
Easterseals affirmed its commitment to serving the region’s veterans with the formation of Easterseals Military & Veteran Services in 2012. It provides employment, educational, and non-medical emergency resources to all who served, regardless of their discharge status. Easterseals Military & Veteran Services is the United Way 211 referral partner for veterans seeking assistance in Greater Cincinnati.
Easterseals also operates two social enterprises in Greater Cincinnati that provide employment opportunities while also generating revenue that is re-invested into the agency’s mission. Building Value, which opened in 2004, provides deconstruction services to salvage reusable construction materials and historic architectural pieces, which are available for sale at the retail outlet located at 4040 Spring Grove Avenue in Northside. Easterseals operates two Production and Fulfillment Centers which specialize in packaging, bundling, and labeling goods for various industries.
MacKenzie 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 lifetimes. Other signers of the pledge include Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Reed Hastings, and Patty Quillin.
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