Towards Employment one of four local organizations to receive MacKenize Scott funds

Towards Employment, which offers job skill training and development to increases opportunities for workers, announced last week that it had received the largest gift in its 48-year history—$2 Million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.  

Towards Employment is one of four local awardees of Scott’s Yield Giving Open Call program, which partnered with Lever for Change to award gifts to 361 community-led non-profits demonstrating last week.

Towards Employment and the other awardees demonstrated “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.”

The $2 million gift enables Towards Employment to continue working to create an equitable and inclusive workforce and in help its clients succeed in rewarding careers.   

Towards EmploymentTowards Employment“For our board, staff and partners who care about our work, this is a dream come true,” Jill Rizika, Towards Employment president and CEO said in a statement. “The world of work is rapidly changing, and this is a great opportunity to thoughtfully identify how this one-time investment can be a catalyst that ensures high-impact equitable community change.”

The other three organizations receiving gifts are Birthing Beautiful Communities ($2 million), the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland ($2 million), and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation ($1 million).

In March 2023, Yield Giving invited community-led, community-focused organizations whose explicit purpose is to enable individuals and families to achieve substantive improvement in their well-being through foundational resources to apply for funds.

Open Call received 6,353 applications and initially planned for 250 awards of $1 million each. In the Fall of 2023, organizations top-rated by their peers advanced to a second round of review and final round of due diligence by an external evaluation panel. The donor team then decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount.

“Our strategic plan is challenging us to take concrete steps towards building a more dynamic world of work, one where all people—regardless of race, justice system involvement, or where they live—have an opportunity to thrive,” Towards Employment board chair John Allerding said in a statement. “This gift will help us advance this vision and lays a strong foundation for our [Chance to Advance] fundraising campaign to be announced on June 14.”