For Immediate Release

Easterseals Iowa Among Beneficiaries of MacKenzie Scott Philanthropic Gifts Announced Today

December 15, 2020

Media Contact:
Anna Lensing

Sherri Nielsen

Easterseals Iowa Among Beneficiaries of MacKenzie Scott Philanthropic Gifts Announced Today

December 15, 2020, Des Moines, Iowa– Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced today that she has made a transformational gift to Easterseals Iowa. Easterseals Iowa is one of 22 Easterseals Affiliates from across the country to benefit from Scott’s philanthropy, in addition to its National Office, to support life-changing services and powerful advocacy for the one in four Americans living with disability 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 Iowa provides exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Our mission is to provide independence, hope and support. We have been present throughout the State of Iowa, supporting individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, to live independent lives for more than 90 years. From providing integrated childcare to assistive technology and job training for people with disabilities, Easterseals Iowa offers a variety of services to support Iowans as they address life's challenges and achieve personal goals.

We are incredibly humbled and grateful for this generous gift.  We look forward to increasing our ability to meet the needs of Iowans thanks to the generosity of Ms. Scott. This donation will make a tremendous impact for our community and will directly impact the lives of the clients we serve,” says Easterseals Iowa President and CEO, Sherri Nielsen.

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.  

To learn more about Easterseals Iowa visit:

Read Ms. Scott’s announcement in full here:

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