The YMCA of Greater Charlotte announced late Monday night it’s received its largest gift — a “transformational” sum of $18 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos.
Why it matters: The local Y, a longstanding Charlotte institution, will look different after losing more than half its members during the pandemic. It saw a 40% drop in revenue last year and nearly 32% of full-time staff was let go.
- The Scott gift offset some of those drops, but most of it will go toward increasing the Y’s social justice efforts in areas like racial equity, upward mobility, and youth and teen initiatives in underserved neighborhoods.
What’s happening: Scott, a San Francisco native, chose the YMCA of Greater Charlotte because it aligns with her various missions and values, the Y said in a statement. They include racial equity, upward mobility, gender equity and pandemic response.
The Y will use the money to transform some of its existing locations into “health equity campuses” to address needs like access to nutrition education and chronic disease prevention services — in underserved communities around Charlotte but with an emphasis on West Boulevard and Beatties Ford corridors.
Todd Tibbits, CEO of YMCA of Greater Charlotte, said this is not a “one-and-done” project.
“This is the beginning of an exciting transformation for our organization, and one that will require strategic partnerships and philanthropic investment to sustain this bold and catalytic vision in the years to come,” Tibbits said in a statement.