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Transformational Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Will Allow Chicago Urban League to Enhance Empowerment Programs, Improve Facility, and Strengthen Financial Foundation

The Chicago Urban League today announced a transformational gift that will allow the organization to enhance and expand the reach of its empowerment programs and strengthen its physical infrastructure.

Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has donated $6.6 million to the organization. The gift is the largest single contribution in the Chicago Urban League’s 106-year history.

“We’re honored and grateful that Ms. Scott and her team have recognized the Chicago Urban League’s value and impact to the community,” said President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson. “By placing racial equity and social justice at the forefront of her philanthropic mission, Ms. Scott is shining a much-needed spotlight on the nation’s structural and institutional limitations and helping to build a stronger, more resilient society for everyone.”

Freeman-Wilson added that the organization will use the contribution to retire debt and complete building and technology infrastructure improvements begun last year at its building at 4510 S. Michigan Avenue. The building houses more than 60 employees and includes classrooms, labs, and meeting spaces for job training, financial and digital literacy workshops, youth programming, and community events. The Chicago Urban League has been seeking to upgrade its physical spaces and technology to continue to ensure a safe, high-functioning work environment for staff and to better meet the needs of its clients.

Ms. Scott’s generosity will also support the expansion of the League’s workforce development, housing, youth services, entrepreneurship, and leadership development programs, as well as its more recent efforts to promote health equity. “This is an incredible gift that better positions the Chicago Urban League to pursue our mission and address critical issues affecting our communities,” Freeman-Wilson said.

The Chicago Urban League is one of 25 Urban League affiliates around the nation that received similar donations from Ms. Scott, who in 2019 signed The Giving Pledge, a promise by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.

About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment. The League serves more than 15,000 adults and youth annually through its direct service and advocacy programming. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.