MacKenzie Scott gifts $4M total to WHW, HER Cincinnati

A pair of Cincinnati organizations received a combined $4 million from MacKenzie Scott’s foundation to support women and families working to overcome obstacles such as gender-based violence, poverty, addiction and human trafficking.

Women Helping Women and HER Cincinnati each received $2 million from Yield Giving, which Scott created in December 2022 to share her financial fortune.

Kristin Shrimplin by Helen Adams for Movers and Makers 2023
Kristin Shrimplin by Helen Adams for Movers and Makers 2023

To broaden its efforts, Yield Giving launched an Open Call initiative last year to offer considerable financial support to community organizations so they can provide greater assistance to people in need.

Initially Yield Giving planned to award $1 million each to 250 community-led nonprofits. However, after receiving more than 6,353 applications from nonprofits across the country and two rounds of peer review by an external evaluation panel, the organization decided to expand the awardee pool to 361 and increase grant totals to up to $2 million each, or $640 million total.

Lever for Change – which helps donors find and fund bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems – operated the application review process. The organization sent the applications to community-based agencies across the nation as part of a peer review process.

“We are excited that our partnership with Yield Giving has resonated with so many organizations,” said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. “In a world teeming with potential and talent, the Open Call has given us an opportunity to identify, uplift and empower transformative organizations that often remain unseen.”

A major impact on Ohio communities

Seven of the nonprofits to receive funding hail from Ohio. HER Cincinnati – a 191-year-old organization formerly known as Cincinnati Union Bethel – and Women Helping Women are the only ones in Greater Cincinnati.

To date, Yield Giving has now provided more than $17.3 billion to more than 2,300 nonprofit teams across the United States to use as they see fit for the benefit of others, per the organization.

“As HER Cincinnati looks ahead to our 200th anniversary in 2030, this transformational gift will allow us to break ground on some exciting organizational growth we’ve been dreaming of,” said Beth Schwartz, the organization’s CEO and president. “It will provide a strong foundation for our future, deepening our impact with the women we serve to sustain long-term success they never thought possible.”

Women Helping Women CEO Kristin Smith Shrimplin voiced shock over the $2 million award. It’s the largest donation in WHW’s 51-year history and twice as much as the organization requested.

The funding from Yield Giving came as “funder trusted,” meaning Women Helping Women has open discretion when it comes to spending it. WHW – which recently expanded to a fifth Southwest Ohio county – just completed a three-year strategic plan rooted in equity and key pillars, including increasing its Survivor Safety Fund. However, Shrimplin emphasized that the “voice of the community” – clients, survivors, stakeholders, etc. – will play a vital role in determining how they use the transformational funding.

“To be seen and uplifted by community peer organizations across the nation is a gift,” Shrimplin said. “So, now the honor is ours to simply turn around and authentically ask survivors, young people, the region and 100 of our amazing staff a very powerful question: As we envision a world where all people are safe, liberated and thriving, how should we use this money?”

Yield Giving Open Call


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