Mackenzie Scott gives unprecedented $11 million in unrestricted funds to 6 Miami nonprofits

Miami is at the forefront of many important civic and community issues that impact not only our region, but the nation at large. From climate resilience to immigration, the strength of Miami’s social impact infrastructure has great consequences. Here at The Miami Foundation, we are pleased to see a growing trend of philanthropists – both local and national – prioritizing Miami for serious philanthropic investment.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently announced an investment of $11 million in six beloved Miami-Dade County nonprofit organizations through her Yield Giving campaign. And to amplify the mic drop, five of the six recipients were shocked to find out that the $1 million grant they applied for had magically turned into $2 million dollars!

Yield Giving was MacKenzie Scott’s first open call – meaning she invited community-led and community-focused organizations to apply. The invitation was simple – If you are an organization working with people and in places experiencing great need, then apply for a $1 million grant to accelerate your work. More than 6,350 organizations from across the country applied, and 361 were awarded a grant, including six incredible nonprofits based here in Miami-Dade County – Branches, Bridge to Hope, Catalyst Miami, Florida Immigrant Coalition, M.U.J.E.R., and Overtown Youth Center.

While the amounts awarded to these organizations are transformational, the most beautiful part about these gifts is that they are 100% unrestricted. This means that organizational leaders have the discretion to use the funds where they are needed most – to support operations, to build a new building, to create an endowment, to launch a new program, etc. At a time when the majority of Miami nonprofits have 50% or more of their funding restricted to specific projects, receiving unrestricted general operating support is considered the holy grail of philanthropy.

Upon calling to congratulate these leaders on this monumental win, we got cheers, tears, and a sense that they were all still in awe. Vanessa Tinsley, the Executive Director of Bridge to Hope shared, “We are driving a 2004 truck with no A.C. – that’s about to change. It’s been 35 years of making do and now we can get what we need to get the job done.” Through Bridge to Hope, Vanessa and her team are helping to make a difference for families in crisis in deep South Dade by providing them with food, housing, and other essentials.

At a time when only 19% of nonprofits in Miami have a permanent endowment, this grant is inspiring these leaders to think about how to ensure sustainability for their organizations’ futures. Susan Rubio Rivera, Executive Director of M.U.J.E.R. is already exploring how to create a permanent endowment to ensure that the vital work that she leads to address the issues of family violence among Latino families in Homestead is possible forever.

The team at The Miami Foundation is cheering loudly for each of the recipients and dreaming about a future where hundreds of our essential local nonprofits have the sustainable funding needed to truly power their work. Through our signature Community Grants program, we try to boost local organizations by providing them with flexible, multiyear funding. But the truth is that the volume and need far outpace the available dollars. For every one organization we give a grant to, we are turning down six. While the $5.45 million we awarded this past cycle was the largest ever, it barely scratches the surface relative to the dollars that nonprofits need across the region.

We hope more national funders, like MacKenzie Scott, will see the opportunity that exists in Miami and will invest to boost our local nonprofit ecosystem. With more than $40 billion in new wealth coming to South Florida in the past three years, we at The Miami Foundation, are doubling down on efforts to encourage local residents to give where they live. Our goal is to help the individuals behind that wealth to understand the issues that matter most to ensure a prosperous future for Greater Miami and to inspire them to give generously to the local nonprofits that power our community every single day.

Residents across Miami will feel the ripple effects of MacKenzie Scott’s bold $11 million investment in our community. These organizations are the champions who brought home the win for Miami, but the real winners are the individuals in our community who will ultimately benefit from this incredible gift. When our nonprofit organizations win, we all win. 

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