MacKenzie Scott gives $15 million to Easterseals Michigan: "100% unsolicited"
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - Earlier this week, MacKenzie Scott announced a massive pandemic-era philanthropy effort in her plan to give away more than $4 billion across the country. One of those organizations getting funding is one she's never worked with before.
Scott is known for many things - an author, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and a philanthropist - and announced her plan on Wednesday to give away billions to various nonprofits around the country.
Brent Wirth, the CEO of Easterseals Michigan, said they received the grant for $15 million from Scott and he couldn't believe it.
"$15 million. One time one payment," he said. "They told me the donor, then they told me the amount and I teared up. I just put my head down, I was on the phone, and I just put my head down.")
On average, Easterseals yearly fundraising totals about $2 million.
What's more, Wirth said he's never met Scott before
"(It was) 100% unsolicited," he said. "To have a stranger recognize you, that's emotional."
That means that she found Easterseals Michigan on her own.
"This will allow us to enhance everything and serve more people. It's quite spectacular," he said.
Wirth says that the $15 million grant will be used to further Easterseals Michigan's goal of helping families with disabilities, autism, mental health, growing depression, and other needs because of COVID-19.
"We've grown tremendously over the last 10 years. So we served 15,000 people last year and during the pandemic, it's actually increased way more than ever. And our largest growth is kids 0 to 6.")
Other nonprofits in Michigan that received some of the $4 billion include Forgotten Harvest, Invest Detroit, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, and the YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit.