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The R.I.S.E. Taskforce

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave more than a transformational gift to United Way Suncoast in December 2020. She issued a clarion call to our organization and the other nonprofit recipients benefiting from her philanthropy.

The message was clear: extend your mission work, help more people, address the challenges brought on by the pandemic and the nation’s social justice reawakening. Reach, Invest, Support and Empower community members


“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott said. “Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.

“I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis. They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

United Way Suncoast, determined to fulfill the promise of the Scott gift, formed the R.I.S.E. (Reach, Invest, Support, Empower) Task Force, a collection of team, board and community members who set out to create a process and organization strategy for the unrestricted one-time gift.

The Task Force set and eventually met several goals in crafting the strategy for the Scott gift.

  • Radical transparency
  • Five-county inclusion
  • Leverage the gift for long-term, measurable and measured impact
  • Learn (promising practices) from other areas while sharing what we are learning
  • Strengthen partnerships (nonprofit partners, area funders, other UWs)
  • Honor the donor.

Through thoughtful determination, the task force has now created a blueprint that not only aligns with our new strategic vision, but focuses on our key impact areas: early learning, youth success and financial stability. The plan for the Scott Gift will support  immediate community needs, but also deepen our lasting impact. It will include big, bold initiatives laced with innovation. And, it will help sustain and strengthen UWS’ thrivability.

➧ View the 2023 R.I.S.E. Report.

➧ View a Case Study about the work of the RISE Taskforce.

➧ Learn what we are doing to counteract the EVICTION CRISIS.

Watched the video below to learn more about how United Way Suncoast will maximize MacKenzie Scott’s gift.

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