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YWCA York received 'significant' donation from Amazon billionaire

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
MacKenzie Scott

YWCA York was one of 384 organizations nationwide to receive a "significant" donation from billionaire writer and philanthropist Mackenzie Scott.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, dished out nearly $4.2 billion to not-for-profit organizations throughout the U.S. over the past four months.

Because of her desire to "be under the radar," though, neither Scott nor YWCA York is disclosing the dollar amount that organization received, said Jean Treuthart, CEO of the local organization.

"But I can say it's significant," she added.

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The three-year grant is expected to allow YWCA York to pay down debts and budget deficits that have accumulated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Treuthart said.

And, while the organization is still mulling how to use the funds, she said she hopes to be able to purchase computers and, more importantly, take care of staff members.

"We definitely want to take care of our staff," Treuthart said. "They've gone through, as everybody has, many difficult months."

YWCA York CEO Jean Treuthart speaks during a press conference regarding the renovation of Voni B. Grimes Gym in York City, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In total, 60 YWCA organizations nationwide received grants from Scott. The organizations provide domestic and sexual abuse services, childcare services and actively campaign against racism and inequality.

Scott and her team considered 6,490 organizations as part of what she described  Wednesday in a post on Medium as a highly competitive vetting process. Some focus areas included food banks, emergency relief funds and support services.

"If you’re craving a way to use your time, voice, or money to help others at the end of this difficult year, I highly recommend a gift to one of the thousands of organizations doing remarkable work all across the country," Scott wrote.

While the amount received by YWCA York has not been made public, other organizations throughout the country have reported receiving millions from Scott. For example, Washington state organization Craft3, which focuses in investing in minority-owned businesses, received $10 million from Scott, according to  The Associated Press. 

The most recent round of grants come after Scott in July announced she had donated nearly $1.7 billion to a number of causes, including women's and LGBTQ equity organizations, NPR reported. 

With a net worth of $55.1 billion, Scott earlier this month was included in Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. She is the world's fourth-richest woman, following her 2019 divorce from Bezos that gave her ownership of 25% of Amazon's shares, Forbes reported.

Amazon has boomed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its earnings grew 37% in the third quarter alone, according to CNBC. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.