10 Million Reasons To Be Grateful! MacKenzie Scott’s Transformational Gift
By now, you may have read about or heard reports of the “Seeding by Ceding” article by MacKenzie Scott, in which the philanthropist lists the 286 high-impact non-profit organizations across the country that she and her team vetted and selected to receive $2.8 billion of her wealth.
Yes, we are beyond elated to confirm that IMAN was, indeed, among the non-profits selected. On this list and previous lists are organizations and institutions we are honored to be connected to and extremely happy for. In our case, that gift came as a one-time transformational commitment of $10 million that, among other things, will support the long-term growth and the further institutionalization of our work.
Among the notable aspects of Scott’s article is how honestly and openly she grapples with the subject of profound wealth inequities in this country and talks about the complicated process for someone with her type of wealth to de-emphasize privileged voices and cede focus to others. We are at what feels like to many as a major inflection moment in the movement to address entrenched systemic, structural and racial inequalities that undergird so much of the disproportionate suffering in this country and beyond. Scott’s strategy and philosophy around her gifts over the last year have been an important part of this larger conversation and we are profoundly grateful to have been included in the process.
As you can imagine we have been receiving inquiries about this gift and what it means for IMAN. First of all, among the top three things this gift will allow us to do over the next few years will be to build a robust investment, cash reserves and endowment strategy that will allow IMAN the ability to continue to meet the extraordinary demands for our programming in Atlanta, Chicago and beyond. Secondly, this gift will help us expedite some of the major real estate renovations and acquisitions in Chicago and Atlanta necessary to accommodate the growth of the organization and demands of our programming. Thirdly, we will also leverage this support to continue to build a top-tier team of extraordinarily committed and experienced individuals to ensure the best chances of success at all levels of our work.
We also know that this gift raises important questions from individuals and foundations across the country that have been supporting us for years. Among the responses to the types of questions that I’ve heard and anticipate are two worth noting:
- They Give Because You Give, Invest In and Support This Work
I know some of you have heard us articulate this before and it is as true in this case as it has ever been. Those vetting IMAN for this gift certainly asked for and wanted to know who and how many foundations and private individuals are currently supporting us. A one-time gift of this size only makes sense when we can feel comfortable knowing that most of our supporters and leaders who have been committed to this work for years understand that their support and commitment of every size will continue to be the foundational bedrock of how IMAN gets things done and meets most of the demands that our $15 million operational budget supports.
- Praying, Planning and Working for This Day & More Like Them
While this was certainly an unanticipated gift, it would be dishonest to suggest that IMAN and our teams, key leaders and supporters haven’t been planning and working to build systems, models and programming that speak for themselves and demonstrate the worthiness of such gifts. Currently, IMAN and its partners have plans on one project alone that far exceed the totality of $10 million. As we move dollars from the federal, state and city governments to help us speak to profound needs on the ground, we will continue to work with our philanthropic partners to cover the costs of current programming and lay the foundations for future gifts that allow us to be bold, creative and unwavering in our pursuits.
As IMAN gets ever closer to celebrating 25 years of extraordinary organizing, community building and creative work around the vision of holistic health, wellness and healing in the inner-city, we will be revealing a new five-year strategic plan that points to inspirational progress and new paths towards that enduring north star vision that has guided our work all this time. From the beginning, IMAN has and will continue to rely on the prayers, generosity and deep spiritual drive of our diverse base of leaders, community organizations and partnering philanthropic institutions. My prayer is that you continue to bless us with the privilege of considering you among that list for years to come!
With Deep Love & Appreciation,