When billionaire MacKenzie Scott informed Metro United Way (MUW) in December 2020 that her team had researched 7,500 nonprofits across the country and chose Louisville’s Metro United Way as one of just 384 to receive a gift from her, we knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that brought with it great responsibility.

Ms. Scott acknowledged that her choice of MUW was because of our commitment to operationalizing diversity, equity and inclusion to address systemic barriers, build racial equity, and advance opportunity for all.

From the time we were aware of this historic, unsolicited, and unrestricted $20 million gift, we wanted to leverage and maximize it for the benefit of our entire community for sustained and transformational change, which would include addressing the pronounced geographical divides within our region.

We acknowledge it’s time to usher in a new era of philanthropic responsibility that focuses on racial equity without stigmatizing impacted people and communities. We must elevate voices, listen and ensure solutions are supported.

To that end and thanks to a board and community volunteer team, we are happy to announce plans to leverage this $20 million gift to $40 million or more with these investments:

$5 million to Black L.O.V.E. Philanthropic Partnership. Raise match dollars to grow to $10 million by Spring 2022. This new initiative will be one of the most innovative and transformational we’ve ever introduced. It will target social justice efforts led by Black individuals in our community and address the roots of systemic inequities, powered by the expertise of impacted people.

$1 million to immediate impact and innovation work; $4 million over the next 3-5 years. Raise match dollars to accelerate our work to close the education and wealth gaps and to support our neighborhood, place-based approach. $500,000 has already been matched to invest more than $1,000,000 into immediate housing needs across our region.

$10 million to MUW endowment. Incentivize additional giving to more than double our endowment by Spring 2022. Create annual income draw to invest into community each year into perpetuity for immediate, emergency and long-term community need.

These investments will help us reach these transformational aspirations by 2030:

  • Black and brown students enter kindergarten with the same readiness to thrive as their white peers.

  • Median net worth among Black households mirrors that of White households. (Note: may be revised as outcomes are community-led.)

We believe in the generosity and commitment of our community and know this historic gift will inspire others to join us for sustained, bold, and transformative innovations we must invest in to build a better tomorrow free of racial and social injustice – especially after a year that upended our community and country, devastated many businesses and nonprofits and left thousands of families homeless.

We’re also pleased that this past year in addition to annual allocations to nonprofit partners, MUW helped bring close to $5 million to our community to invest in COVID relief and recovery.

Additionally, for our upcoming fiscal year beginning May 1, we’re in a position to invest more into nonprofit partners than we anticipated through annual allocations.

Metro United Way continues to work to root out systemic inequities and barriers preventing children, individuals and families from accessing the resources and opportunities they need to not only survive, but thrive. And we’re grateful Ms. Scott’s gift will allow us to target and accelerate that work.



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