ArticlesMacKenzie Scott Gift

December 21, 2020by nandor

Thank you MacKenzie Scott for your incredible contribution to Goodwill of Silicon Valley! 

The impact of your generosity will spawn many future generations of Goodwill program participants (and employees) seeking to build a life of purpose and self-sufficiency.  While the donation was at the highest of levels, the day to day support from our employees, shoppers, and donors ensures that your contributions are going to the right mission. 

San Jose, Calif. (December 19, 2020) – Goodwill of Silicon Valley just received an unsolicited $10 million donation from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to bolster its array of economic, educational and wellness programs serving our region’s underprivileged. The transformative donation is the biggest single financial investment that the nearly 100-year-old nonprofit has ever been awarded.

The vital gift is part of Scott’s contributions of $4.2 billion to 384 organizations nationwide over the past four months and comes as groups such as Goodwill of Silicon Valley combat unprecedented needs, fueled by the pandemic, from homelessness and food shortages to job losses and learning inequities.

“This tremendous donation will accelerate our mission to improve the lives of the unemployed, the homeless, the struggling young student and numerous others who are in great need throughout our local communities,” Goodwill of Silicon Valley CEO Michael E. Fox said. “MacKenzie Scott’s gift and her rigorous process for deciding to whom to donate reflect the outstanding teamwork and diligence happening at Goodwill of Silicon Valley to tirelessly pursue our mission. I am immensely proud that we are able to stand out and shine among the thousands of nationwide nonprofits. It’s a tribute to our team, our donors, our successful programs and our entire board of directors.”

“This prodigious contribution comes at such a critical time when more and more people have become vulnerable because of the pandemic,” Board Chair Jessica Welker added. “This funding will strengthen our resolve to reach those people and others who can benefit from our diverse, proven services.”

The very people most profoundly impacted by the world’s health plight are among the ones whom Goodwill of Silicon Valley is seeking to uplift through its essential programs. Those endeavors include its Career Development Program, which offers paid work experience, job coaching and other related services for people facing challenging employment barriers.

In addition, Goodwill of Silicon Valley developed the innovative Neurodiversity Pathways, another critically important job-training program. Neurodiversity Pathways prepares those with conditions such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD for careers in a myriad of fields in Silicon Valley and connects them to leading employers in our region such as Apple and Stanford University.

Goodwill of Silicon Valley serves nearly 20,000 people every year. In 2020, its adult-employment programs served over 650 individuals. The organization also provides programs that assist those struggling with housing or mental-health issues (Veteran Family Services and the Wellness Center, respectively) and broaden educational opportunities for at-risk youth (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens and GoodHealth). Its other key programs include:

  • New Opportunity Work: Employment preparation, behavioral-therapy workshops and other services for those transitioning back into the community from the criminal-justice system.
  • Veterans Individualized Placement: Case management, life-skills training and job placement for homeless veterans.
  • Expandability: Job preparation and placement for young adults with developmental or cognitive disabilities.
  • Google IT Professional Certificate: Job training in IT support for those who have less than a two- year degree.
  • HVAC Training: Job-qualification preparation in HVAC installation for those housed with subsidies.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship: Construction-work training and placement for individuals transitioning out of the criminal-justice system.
  • Basic needs through existing partnerships: More than 3,000 people given food services this past year.

“Goodwill of Silicon Valley has been an invaluable resource of help and hope for almost a century, serving thousands of people who have not been able to share in Silicon Valley’s prosperity,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “I hope this donation serves to inspire others to make a similar gift that honors the organization’s altruistic work and boosts their efforts to elevate people’s standard of living.”

Mackenzie Scott applied stringent criteria in choosing the organizations she ultimately funded. She tasked a team of advisors to seek out deserving groups, and they took a data-driven approach to identify those with strong leadership skills and results, particularly in the areas of food demands, racial injustices, poverty and low access to financial capital. Scott’s philanthropy challenges fellow business leaders to step up and support community-based groups tackling a host of socioeconomic and other concerns amid the pandemic.

“If you’re craving a way to use your time, voice or money to help others at the end of this difficult year, I highly recommend a gift to one of the thousands of organizations doing remarkable work all across the country,”  Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, said in her Medium blog post about the financial contributions. “Every one of them could benefit from more resources to share with the communities they’re serving. And the hope you feed with your gift is likely to feed your own.”

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