On June 15, 2021, novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced that Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) was one of 286 organizations selected to receive funding as part of her commitment to the Giving Pledge. M-AAA has received this unexpected and transformative donation as a part of her latest round of giving. Through a statement from Scott, she selected “high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”
In her blog post, Scott wrote, “arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health, so we evaluated smaller arts organizations creating these benefits with artists and audiences from culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook.” She added that she chose to make large gifts to organizations “to enable their work, and as a signal of trust and encouragement, to them and to others.”
Todd Stein, President and CEO of Mid-America Arts Alliance, said, “We are immensely grateful for this generous donation from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett. These funds deepen our ability to empower communities through art and activate artists in our region.” He added, “On behalf of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, I thank them for recognizing the power the arts can play in creating just and vibrant communities.”
M-AAA is taking a deliberate approach to determine thoughtfully how the gift might best further its mission, strategic goals, infrastructure, and innovation. Until specific decisions are made about its future use, the grant will be responsibly invested.