United Way of Berks County Receives Transformative Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

United Way of Berks County announced a $10 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This major grant marks the largest gift received in the organization’s 95-year history.

“This is a tremendous honor, and we are humbled by Ms. Scott’s generosity, along with her trust in our organization’s mission and our role in leading community change,” said Joanne Judge, Board Chair of United Way of Berks County.

“Upon learning of this gift, one of the reasons we were told United Way was selected was based on our track record as an effective leader and collaborator who invests funds in the community producing the greatest impact on the most significant needs,” shared Tammy White, President of United Way of Berks County. As a recipient of the grant, the organization will provide an annual report, for the next three years, to Ms. Scott to share detail on the program investments, lessons learned and achievements.

White added, “Ms. Scott’s gift comes at a critical time for the community as the unrelenting demands for services due to the social and economic upheaval of the past year and the ongoing health crisis from the pandemic continue to challenge Berks County. The one-time grant represents incredible opportunity and a responsibility to create significant, sustainable impact beyond what is accomplished annually through the ongoing generosity of our donors. We have a unique opportunity to fund initiatives and programs that will make a transformative impact and benefit the future of the community and generations to come.”

United Way of Berks County has established a special committee comprised of United Way Board members to develop specific strategies around fund management, program investment and reporting practices associated with the grant.

MacKenzie Scott made a commitment to The Giving Pledge in 2019, which was established in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as an effort to organize billionaires who pledge to give away half their wealth. Earlier this year, it was reported Ms. Scott donated $1.7 billion to nearly 120 nonprofits, with her gifts primarily directed to work creating equity, economic stability and improved health. She was named to Forbes 2020 list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

“We are grateful to have been selected as a beneficiary of Ms. Scott’s generosity and trust. This incredible gift is a testament to the organization’s volunteer and staff leadership…both current and past…the dedication of our partners… and the many donors and volunteers who are responsible for United Way’s organizational reputation,” said Judge.