Families gathered at the Early Learning Multnomah Parent Accountability Council five-year celebration (photo by Sharon Thomas for United Way of the Columbia-Willamette)

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is honored to be one of the 384 recipients of a generous gift from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott. “This substantial investment from MacKenzie Scott speaks to the amazing and vital work of our partners, supporters and staff on behalf of kids and families across our region,” says Cindy Adams, President and CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “We are deeply humbled that she not only recognizes our impact in the community but also our commitment to centering racial equity in everything we do.”

Ms. Scott and her advisors rigorously vetted nearly 6,500 organizations. After four months of research they identified 384 organizations with “strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” Scott wrote in her announcement on Medium. Her donation to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is part of the more than $4.1 billion she has gifted to organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. 

The unexpected gift is a strong endorsement of our work and mission in building inclusive, equitable and more resilient communities where all kids and families have the resources and opportunities to thrive. For 100 years, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has been working to meet the needs of vulnerable families in our region. No matter the crisis, we have always remained steadfast in our commitment to LIVE UNITED and take care of our community.

Recently, we launched our Resilient Families Initiative which will provide supportive housing services, prioritizing families of color with the highest risk of being displaced and divert these families from becoming houseless. Ms. Scott’s transformational gift will allow us to further advance racial equity as our community and families continue to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.