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Two Tampa Bay area nonprofits are among the latest recipients of MacKenzie Scott's generosity

Updated: Mar 26


Ernest Coney Jr., the CEO of CDC of Tampa (left), says he is "over the moon" about the donation from MacKenzie Scott.


The Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa and REACHUP are among the organizations receiving $2 million in donations.

Billionaire philanthropist and novelist MacKenzie Scott recently awarded $640 million to more than 360 community-focused nonprofits, including 11 Florida-based organizations.

The funding was awarded to a pair of Tampa Bay area organizations, the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. and REACHUP Inc.


CDC of Tampa focuses on workforce development, sustainable housing and ensuring families maintain generational wealth.


CEO and President Ernest Coney Jr. said he was “over the moon” when he found out they were one of the organizations receiving $2 million from Yield Giving, Scott’s philanthropic organization.


"When we look at communities like East Tampa, one of the greatest tragedies is the lack of investment and the lack of capital to transform these areas,” said Coney. “In East Tampa, we have 29% of the Black population that lives here, but we don't have a corresponding business district or corresponding employment centers.”


Coney emphasized how the funds will be used to create spaces for entrepreneurship, promote small businesses and help foster a thriving workforce.


Following her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, Scott made a pledge to become a dedicated philanthropist, using what she called a “disproportionate amount of money to share.”


Yield Giving was launched in 2022 to disclose Scott’s charitable donations to the public. An open call posted to the organization’s website asked for applications from community-led nonprofits with a goal of amplifying “voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means.”


“If more information about these gifts can be helpful to anyone, I want to share it,” Scott wrote in an essay published on the website.


“Directing user action, maximizing clicks, keeping users on the site, I don’t want or need to do any of these things. I have nothing to sell.”



Scott has given away more than $17 billion to more than 2,300 nonprofits

One of the requirements for groups applying this round was having an annual budget between $1 million to $5 million.


This was the first time nonprofits got the chance to reach out to Scott for funding. Previously, the organization relied on “quiet research” to identify potential recipients. Switching to an open call process has allowed smaller groups, like the CDC of Tampa, to advocate for themselves and receive help.


“We're inviting all of corporate America, all of the philanthropic investors, to think about and challenge themselves. Let's do this. Let's make America great. Let's make neighbors," said Coney.


In 2023, Scott pledged to donate $250 million to recipients. Ultimately, the total amount distributed was more than double that amount.


Out of the 361 nonprofits selected this year, 279 were awarded $2 million each, while the remaining 82 received $1 million each.


The selection process for nonprofits involved applicants scoring fellow candidates before a panel reviewed the top contenders.


You can see a list of the 11 Florida-based nonprofits that were awarded funds here.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.




 

Ari Angelo is a WUSF-USF Zimmerman Rush Family Digital News intern for spring of 2024.

See stories by Ari Angelo


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