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YMCA of Greater Omaha Announces Plans for $10 Million Gift From MacKenzie Scott

The donation will be distributed across five key initiatives throughout the YMCA of Greater Omaha.


The YMCA announced detailed distribution plans for the $10 million donation received from MacKenzie Scott in December 2020 on July 29, 2021.

Scott, author and philanthropist, donated a combined $4.1 billion last year to 384 strongly vetted organizations and nonprofits nationwide, the second of three large-scale philanthropic donations, the most recent of which happened in June.

The YMCA of Greater Omaha was selected in part due to how it reached beyond its walls as part of a community need-driven pandemic response. Leveraging skills, staff, resources and facilities, the YMCA of Greater Omaha turned five YMCA locations into out-of-school time sites, had six locations offer community-based health programs with both in-person and virtual options available, donated nearly half a million pounds of fresh produce, created the virtual fitness resource Y Without Walls and hosted virtual swim safety lessons and emergency child care.

“This is by far the largest single donation we’ve received here at the Y,” said Chris Tointon, president and CEO. “The fact that MacKenzie Scott has entrusted the organization to utilize the donation how we need allows us to customize our approach to do the most good for our employees and our community. What we’re starting today will continue to grow and expand over the next decade.”

Task forces made up of community and staff members determined how best to allocate the funds for the greatest possible impact through five key initiatives, which is also detailed in a video on our website at

  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Infrastructure Improvements
  • Employee Equity & Development
  • Technology & Innovation
  • Organizational Sustainability

These initiatives address the immediate needs of the YMCA of Greater Omaha while also setting aside a substantial portion for future needs through an organizational sustainability fund.

“We took our time with the process of deciding how to allocate this generous gift,” said Tera Thomas, vice president of advancement. “Strong, community-led input created hundreds of ideas that were vetted by YMCA volunteers who understand and know the community through and through. This was truly a collaboration that took into account diverse perspectives, current needs and future planning,” said Thomas.

The five initiatives will result in improvements across the organization, including community outreach programs, bilingual support, accessibility updates, facility improvements, e-sports initiatives, employee development resources and an increased minimum wage.

"We are extremely grateful for our local philanthropic community and their unwavering support," said Thomas. "Their investment in our mission positioned us to serve the community in a way that caught MacKenzie Scott's attention."

This donation comes at a critical time for the YMCA.

“The timing of this gift is very fortunate in that we are coming off one of the toughest years ever in which we lost money – with this gift, there’s room for growth again,” said Tointon.

“We’re excited about the new things these initiatives will bring, but this isn’t the end; we’ll need support from our community to continue our impact for years to come,” said Thomas.

Community members who want to donate to any of these initiatives can do so online or by contacting Tera Thomas at

Please direct any requests from the press to Jodi Cramer, Director of Marketing at


View the Scott Donation Infographic