Chicago, IL, December 15, 2020
Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced today that she has made an unrestricted transformational gift to 22 Easterseals Affiliates nationwide as well as to its National Office to support life-changing services for the one in four Americans currently living with disability.
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, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit service providers and advocate for people with disabilities, is committed to advancing access to and equity in healthcare, employment, and education for children and adults with disabilities including veterans and seniors, as well as their families and caregivers. Its national network of Affiliates in communities nationwide serve 1.5 million people annually through high-quality programs including early intervention; autism services; medical rehabilitation including physical, occupational, and speech therapies; workforce development; behavioral health services; adult day services, and much more.
“This gift from Ms. Scott represents a transformational gift for Easterseals as we begin our second century of service to people with disabilities in America,” said Easterseals President and CEO Angela F. Williams. “These funds will allow us to grow our Network and expand our services to meet the increasing needs of children and adults with disabilities so they can fully participate in their communities and in society.”
In addition to the gift provided to Easterseals National office in Chicago, Ms. Scott has selected the following Easterseals Affiliates to benefit from her philanthropy: Easterseals Central and Southeast OH; Easterseals East GA; Easterseals Greater Cincinnati Region; Easterseals Greater Houston; Easterseals IA; Easterseals LA; Easterseals MA; Easterseals MI; Easterseals Midwest (MO and KS); Easterseals North GA; Easterseals Northeast Central FL; Easterseals of Central IL; Easterseals San Antonio; Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford; Easterseals South FL; Easterseals Southeastern PA; Easterseals Southwest FL; Easterseals Southwest Human Development (Phoenix, AZ); Easterseals TN; Easterseals WA; Easterseals WV Rehabilitation Center; and Easterseals Goodwill Miami Valley (OH).
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.
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 www.easterseals.com.