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Major gift from MacKenzie Scott

Gift, focused on marginalized and underserved communities, will support 2021 grantmaking

(Dec. 15, 2020) – Author and venture philanthropist MacKenzie Scott awarded funding to the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which will be used to support recovery and resiliency grantmaking in 2021. The gift, announced on Medium on December 15, is one of 384 nationwide, totaling $4.2 billion to provide aid and minimize inequities for people suffering the economic effects of the crisis across the country.

Having pledged to donate a significant portion of her wealth, Ms. Scott noted in her announcement that she asked a team of advisors to help accelerate her 2020 giving by conducting thorough research on effective nonprofits across the nation. “We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached, she wrote. “Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft.”

The major gift comes on the heels of several other, recent significant awards to the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis from national funders—including New-York based philanthropy Blue Meridian Partners and tech giant Facebook. Those investments are also targeted at addressing disparities and creating opportunities for communities of color, with a portion of each gift earmarked for COVID-19 recovery.

While still accepting donations, the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund advisory committee anticipates awarding approximately $9 million for recovery and resiliency efforts in 2021. This is in addition to the $4.9 already distributed to 138 distinct organizations in 2020.

“The coronavirus crisis is still taking an alarming toll on Greater Memphis, especially its communities of color, and the outpouring of local and national support for our relief work continues to be incredible,” said Robert M. Fockler, president of the Community Foundation. “Since Day 1, we have striven to be transparent, nimble, and effective with donors’ dollars. It is gratifying for Memphis to gain funders’ attention and for our response fund to earn their trust in stewarding those transformative gifts.”

The Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund is the unified community relief effort to support organizations impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. To learn more about the fund, click here.

About the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund

The Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, in partnership with City of Memphis, Shelby County Government, United Way of the Mid-South, and Momentum Nonprofit Partners/Mid-South Philanthropy Network. It provides flexible funding to nonprofit organizations serving community members dealing with the economic consequences of the outbreak in West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas, and Northern Mississippi. 

About the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis:
The mission of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is to strengthen the community through philanthropy. Founded in 1969, the Foundation last year awarded $163 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The Community Foundation manages 1,200 charitable funds, with assets of $739 million. For more information, visit