COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Urban League announced a $6.5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott on Monday. It’s one of the largest single planned gifts in the organization’s 104 year history.
The Columbus Urban League’s mission is to be an advocate and resource for Black and urban communities. This funding will allow for enhancing programs already in place, including “I am my Brother’s Keeper,” for young Black males and “Building Futures,” a nationally ranked apprenticeship.
President of the CUL Stephanie Hightower is extremely grateful, and said funding like this wasn’t always readily available.
“What folks don’t really realize is that Black led social justice organizations, and that female Black led female organizations, historically have been red lined in this country,” said Hightower. “We have not been afforded the philanthropic allotments that a lot of our other sister organizations have been privy to.”
As a result, they’ve had to play catch up. However, Hightower is not deterred and is excited about what’s to come.
“This will give us dollars to be able to supplement a lot of the programs that are already underfunded,” said Hightower. “It gives us the ability to build capacity, retain talent, and do professional development. But really to be strategic long term about, looking at our program offering and looking at how we innovate those programs, how we make them more impactful and relevant for the people that deserve to have these kinds of services in our community.”
Still, Hightower said the CUL still needs community support for those transformative programs. While the organization decides how to allot the funds, Hightower said to “Be patient and, you know, let us be strategic. Let us be aspirational.”
Learn more information about the Columbus Urban League here.