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Transformational $10 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott

Announcing the largest single gift in our history

We are honored and overjoyed to share that United Way of South Hampton Roads has been selected by MacKenzie Scott, prominent author and philanthropist, to receive a transformational $10 million gift to address long-term community challenges that have been deepened by the pandemic. This significant investment, the largest single gift in our organization’s history, is a tremendous validation of our strategic work for children, veterans and families in the 757.

According to her announcement, Scott’s team of advisors looked at 6,490 organizations, undertook deeper research into 822 and, prioritizing groups with demonstrated results and deep impact, included United Way of South Hampton Roads among the 384 selected to receive gifts totaling nearly $4.2 billion.

“We do this 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,” said Scott. “Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft.”

In choosing United Way of South Hampton Roads and 45 other local United Ways of the 1,200 across the nation, Scott has made a bold statement that organizations capable of coordinating and strengthening ecosystems matter, and that her team believes in the efficacy of our approach, our leadership and our results.

“We are proud that the impact of our work is being recognized by a global philanthropist and attracting significant national investments in our region,” said Michele Anderson, president & CEO of United Way of South Hampton Roads. “We are profoundly grateful for Ms. Scott’s generosity and faith in our mission. At a time when our community faces both enormous immediate and structural needs, this investment will serve to strengthen our work and that of our partners.”

The gift, a true example of trust-based philanthropy, was left unrestricted to allow maximum flexibility in using it to best serve our community. We plans on spending significant time with our management team and board of directors strategizing around highest and best use of the funds. We do anticipate spreading the funds over multiple years and incorporating them into our work to continue to modernize our organization and innovate our approach to impact, particularly in the areas of:

  • Helping families move from crisis to stability to thriving, ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty
  • Providing wraparound supports that position children to graduate with a path forward
  • Ensuring our veterans have access to the services and resources they deserve

For nearly 100 years, we have been a leader in South Hampton Roads, bringing together people and resources to tackle our toughest problems so everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Most recently, we’ve played a critical role in our community’s response to the pandemic, providing direct assistance to those facing hardship, supporting nonprofits on the frontlines, and problem-solving around new and increased challenges. This investment will help us continue our impactful work through COVID and beyond.

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