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United Way of the Midlands announces $10 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Columbia, SC (December 16, 2020) – United Way of the Midlands has received a generous gift of $10 million from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It is the largest gift from an individual donor in the organization’s history. 

“I am extremely grateful that Ms. Scott has invested such a generous gift in United Way of the Midlands,” said Sara Fawcett, United Way of the Midlands President & CEO. “This is a long-term investment in the Midlands and gives us the ability to greatly expand collaboration and collective impact across the region. We hope that her actions will inspire other donors to join us in transforming our community and making the Midlands a place where each of us has an opportunity to succeed.” 

In a post on Medium announcing $4.158 billion in gifts to 384 nonprofits, Ms. Scott talked about how she and her advisers chose these specific nonprofits. 

“To select these 384,” she said, “the team sought suggestions and perspective from hundreds of field experts, funders, and non-profit leaders and volunteers with decades of experience. We leveraged this collective knowledge base in a collaboration that included hundreds of emails and phone interviews, and thousands of pages of data analysis on community needs, program outcomes, and each non-profit’s capacity to absorb and make effective use of funding.” 

United Way of the Midlands served more than 63,000 Midlands residents last year, including 15,000 individuals who were helped by its COVID-19 Response Fund. United Way’s signature programs focus on resilience, equity and opportunity and include WellPartners Dental and Eye Clinics, Resilient Richland and the Midlands Reading Consortium. 

“These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day,” Ms. Scott said in her post. “They help by delivering vital services, and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being. This kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone.” 

United Way of the Midlands staff, volunteers and stakeholders will develop plans for investing Ms. Scott’s gift in the community and will announce them at a later date.

"We believe this gift is a validation of the work United Way has been doing for years to promote equity and opportunity and that this organization has proven to be an effective steward of the resources entrusted by the community,” said Robert Foster, United Way of the Midlands Board Chair with Nelson Mullins. “The board of directors, staff and volunteers at United Way are already hard at work to determine the best way to deploy these resources swiftly and effectively.”  


About United Way of the Midlands 

United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 70 Community Impact Partners, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit 

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