One Year Later: MacKenzie Scott’s Impact with United Way of the National Capital Area

Feb 16, 2022

Scott’s transformational gifts help 46 United Ways tackle crisis needs and systemic change

 WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 16, 2022)  — One year after author and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott used her Medium blog to launch a new brand of giving, United Way of the National Capital Area was one of 46 United Ways that joined forces to demonstrate the collective power of her gifts across the country.

In a Medium blog post titled “The United Way 46: One Year Later,” the United Ways chronicle the impact of Scott’s giving across their local communities, ranging from urban to suburban to rural. From providing basic needs and rebuilding supports in the aftermath of natural disasters to tackling systemic inequities by bolstering Black-led businesses and nonprofits and stabilizing vulnerable critical sectors such as child care, Scott is helping build stronger, more equitable communities, according to the blog post.

“Ms. Scott’s investment allowed us to support strategic programmatic investments not otherwise funded by donor-restricted contributions and grants,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area. “The flexibility of Ms. Scott’s gift has propelled your United Way NCA to expand community outreach and deepen community impact. In addition, it provides an expanded pool of resources to promote equity for everyone across our community, core to our mission.”

Your United Way of the National Capital Area invested 100 percent of Scott’s $20 million transformational gift in its Strategic Mission Fund. As a result, the organization has already witnessed a tangible impact on the community, improving life for those facing the greatest need, including ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and households in poverty. ALICE households represent the growing number of families struggling to make ends meet. A recent study shows these households were especially hard hit throughout the pandemic, losing employment income at a markedly higher rate than the middle class and high-income families.

What’s more, with the cushion of Scott’s significant financial support, United Way NCA could address the needs of ALICE households throughout the DMV. For example, 10 percent of the total funding supported United Way NCA’s programmatic initiatives this year, such as Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Action Plan (CHL) COVID-19 heath expansion relief efforts. The funds also allowed United Way NCA to be agile in response to immediate community needs. For example, the organization partnered with the Virginia Department of Social Services to provide critical services to Afghan evacuee resettlement efforts as they made their way from Afghanistan to Virginia.

Looking ahead, 20 percent of the funding will continue to support United Way NCA’s work across three core program areas of health, education, and economic opportunity in the coming year. Specifically, the organization will continue to:

  • Provide equitable access to and distribution of COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and education and awareness through these efforts.
  • Seed the expansion of new resource hubs as part of United Way NCA’s place-based approach that included connecting neighboring churches to its community schools and Financial Empowerment Centers and expanding place-based testing services to communities in Prince George’s County, MD and Wards 7 and 8 in DC.
  • Accelerate the development and implementation of a longitudinal analysis process to measure United Way NCA’s programs’ long-term impacts on low-to-middle incoming community members.

“We were humbled by the confidence Ms. Scott placed in us to achieve results and our team set out immediately to maximize this gift for local ALICE families for years to come,” Allen-Herring said. “We invite others to follow Ms. Scott’s lead and provide ALICE hope by investing for the common good.”

In addition to the on-the-ground action, these United Ways took, Scott’s gift also sparked a learning community among these 46 United Ways. Singled out by Scott for their strong leadership and results, this cohort has swapped insights and learnings as they put Scott’s gift into action, Allen-Herring said.

“As Ms. Scott wrote, her gifts are already creating a value beyond what was initially imagined,” Allen-Herring said. “And we’re just getting started.”

About United Way of the National Capital Area

United Way of the National Capital Area works to improve the health, education and economic opportunity of every person in the National Capital community. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for nearly 50 years. In 2020, United Way NCA was among 384 organizations across the United States to receive a generous transformational investment from novelist and venture philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.