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YMCA of Delaware gets $10 million donation, its biggest ever

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YMCA of Delaware
YMCA of Delaware photo

The YMCA of Delaware has received a $10 million donation from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It’s the nonprofit’s largest gift ever.

It’s one of the donations that Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced today to 384 nonprofit organizations. She also gave $20 million to Delaware State University.

“It is truly, truly, truly transformative,” said Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, president and CEO of the YMCA of Delaware for the last seven years and a YMCA staffer for 30. “We will have an opportunity to expand our Covid-19 response efforts, including hunger relief, emergency childcare for essential workers, remote learning support centers as well as strengthen our work in fighting racism and inequities in our communities.”

The YMCA of Delaware has lost $17 million in revenue — about a third of its revenue — due to the shutdown and mandated safety protocols, which have reduced memberships and capacities in programs like summer camp, swim lessons and childcare.

 

Bagatta-Bowles said the YMCA was facing two to three years of effort to climb back, and that this unrestricted grant gives it breathing room.

“Families are in real chaos” as well, she said, and the grant will also allow the YMCA to subsidize programs for those in need. It typically distributes $5.5 million in financial assistance annually.

The YMCA will also use the grant for programs to fight racism, such as recording videos with local teens and distributing readings lists. “We have taken a firm stand,” she said. “You see it at the door: ‘We stand again racism.’ ”

“MacKenzie Scott’s gift could not have been more perfectly timed or more appreciated. We hope that her example will inspire other donors to support the YMCA as a change-maker,” she said.

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COVID-19 stats continue decline as vaccinations rise

344,780 Delawareans, or 44.4% of the eligible population, are fully vaccinated as of Friday a.m.

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With the help of his father, “cool and collected’ Bear resident Sam Witman extinguishes the fire.

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