Greenville’s CommunityWorks was selected among 384 organizations across the United States to receive part of a $4.2 billion donation from MacKenzie Scott, a writer and philanthropist formerly married to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.
“It would be easy for all the people who drew the long demographic straws in this crisis to hole up at home feeling a mix of gratitude and guilt and wait for it to be over — but that’s not what’s happening,” MacKenzie said in a statement. “The proliferation of community fridges, COVID relief funds, impromptu person-to-person Venmo gifts, viral debt relief campaigns, and mutual aid initiatives has been swift and uplifting.”
Mackenzie hired a group of professional consultants who used a data-driven approach to parse down the 6,490 organizations considered to those that had the strongest leadership teams and results, especially in terms of combating food insecurity, racial inequality, poverty and low access to philanthropic capital, according to a news release.
CommunityWorks’ share of the donation was not disclosed.
In 2020, CommunityWorks served 338 small businesses through coaching and access to capital, 229 more than last year, according to a news release. More than 60% of the beneficiaries were minority or women-led businesses.
MacKenzie’s donation will allow the nonprofit to expand its reach to additional businesses, communities and individuals facing economic hardship, according to the news release.
“We stand committed to racial equity and economic opportunities for all in South Carolina, and this gift speaks volumes to the strong foundation built over many years and the impact we have made on communities and families,” Tammie Hoy Hawkins, CEO of CommunityWorks, said in the release. “We are so thankful for our long-time funders and partners who stood by us and continue to support us. We are honored to join so many amazing organizations across the country to receive this outstanding recognition of our service.”