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MacKenzie Scott donates millions to help Atlanta immigrants, Latinos

Lautaro Grinspan, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — Two Atlanta-area nonprofits that serve Hispanic and refugee residents received multimillion dollar donations from philanthropist and Amazon co-founder MacKenzie Scott.

Last year, Ser Familia and Ethne Health were among more than 6,000 organizations that responded to an open call for funding from Scott’s own nonprofit, Yield Giving. Ultimately, 361 applicants were selected and a total of $640 million was given away. Ser Familia and Ethne Health received $2 million each – the most generous award available.

Scott has donated billions of dollars to charity since signing a pledge to give away the bulk of her wealth in 2019, the year she divorced Jeff Bezos. In 2022, she donated $436 million to Georgia-based Habitat for Humanity, then her largest publicly disclosed gift. But this was the first time that the philanthropist set up an open call to review and select deserving nonprofits.

In a statement, Scott said that the successful applicants were chosen “for their outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means, and groups who have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles.”

Ser Familia is a Hispanic-serving nonprofit that provides social services to families across five offices in metro Atlanta.

Scott’s $2 million gift is the biggest single donation the organization has received in its 23-year history, according to Belisa Urbina, Ser Familia’s co-founder and CEO.

It’s “truly a game changer,” Urbina said.

Part of the money will be used to expand Ser Familia’s mental health services, and will help fund an expansion in Kennesaw to increase the nonprofit’s footprint in Cobb County. According to Urbina, the magnitude of Scott’s donation reflects the need that exists in the Atlanta Hispanic community for Ser Familia’s work.

 

Ethne Health has also been expanding.

In November, the nonprofit clinic located in the refugee hub of Clarkston opened a dental practice to address refugee communities’ chronic challenges accessing oral health services.

Dr. Robert Contino, Ethne Health co-founder and CEO, said in a statement that receiving the Yield Giving Award came as a happy surprise.

“This gift means that we will be able to make long-term investments that will grow our service lines and expand our reach, and will therefore be able to help many more people in less time find hope and healing than we would have been able to otherwise,” he said.

Last year, Ethne staff used more than 40 languages to serve their patients, an indicator of the diversity of Clarkston’s refugee population.

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©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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