I am tremendously humbled and grateful national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott singled out United Way of Greater Cincinnati this week for a $25 million investment in our community.
Ms. Scott actually chose several local organizations to support. I’m sure those organizations will soon come out with their own news and detail how much they received. This is outstanding news for the Greater Cincinnati community. This investment in impactful local nonprofits doing fantastic work promises to spur long-lasting, positive change for families and children throughout the region.
This allows our organization to invest in bold, transformational change that empowers Greater Cincinnati’s families to live better lives. This allows us to look at the landscape and do something different than – but in support of -- our traditional work around meeting basic needs and promoting financial stability, quality education and good health.
It could not have come at a better time. COVID-19 brought heartbreak and horror to our community. United Way and its partners responded quickly and strongly to the challenges of COVID-19, bringing optimism and commitment to recovery and revitalization. This significant investment not only brings a psychological lift, but it provides the opportunity to build upon, grow and accelerate United Way’s work rebuilding and strengthening systems of care.
I appreciate Ms. Scott entrusting United Way with the decision on how best to spend her investment. Four principles will guide the investment’s use:
- Focus on systems change – the gift will be used to influence change with system leaders and key policy makers.
- Focus on diversity, equity and inclusion – the transformational efforts will be guided by an intentional focus on equity to respond to inequities exposed by COVID-19 and historical racism.
- Driven by those it helps– United Way will build in the voice and power of the community.
- Collaboration with partners across sectors – United Way cannot create change alone and will collaborate to maximize the impact of the gift.
2020 provided a fresh perspective on the inequities in our community. A person’s fate is too often decided by the family they are born into, the zip code they live in, their skin color, etc. Many took stock this year in the privilege and benefits they enjoy and pledged to change systems to advance equity. United Way – which has improved public social systems for more than 100 years – now has the opportunity to capitalize on that momentum.
We have responded. We are recovering. We will revitalize. This $25 million investment will support that work and provide opportunity for bold new work.
Ms. Scott’s gift validates our organization’s direction and work! There are more than 1 million nonprofits throughout the country. Ms. Scott chose United Way of Greater Cincinnati, pointing out my leadership track record and our organization’s effectiveness over the past nine months. She wants her investment not to be a pass to the rest of the community, but a sign that this leadership and organization are worthy of increasing community support.
We hope you agree. We hope this inspires confidence and support. While this is an amazing investment that will have major impact in many ways, we still need your gifts, voluntarism, advocacy, collaboration and other support. Those who invest in United Way of Greater Cincinnati – whether it be $5 or $5,000 – are investing in making their community a better place for all residents and are active partners in producing positive results.
The true winners of this investment are those who live, work, play and worship in Greater Cincinnati. We will keep you updated on the changes it brings.