MacKenzie Scott Donates $8 Million to Chicago’s Cara Collective

MacKenzie Scott, a wealthy philanthropist, gave a “historic” $8 million gift to a Chicago-based workforce development group on Tuesday.

According to Cara Collective, the one-time, unrestricted gift is the largest in the organization’s 30-plus-year existence.

“This investment is a testament to the dedication of our community that has helped us reach this incredible moment,” Cara Collective CEO Kathleen St. Louis Caliento said in a statement.

Over the last six weeks, a committee of stakeholders met to develop a strategy for using the money wisely, concentrating on many crucial areas.

According to the group, these areas include expanding Cara Collective’s reach in the city to accommodate more job seekers, diversifying workforce development programming, and investing in staff and infrastructure.

According to its website, the group, 237 S. Desplaines St., was founded in 1991 with the goal of “eradicate relational and financial poverty” by offering professional training for individuals and linking them with companies.

“We recognize there is still a tremendous need to reach even more individuals and communities,” Caliento said. “This gift is the launch pad that will allow Cara Collective to accelerate to the next chapter of our organization so we can reach thousands more in Chicago and uplift untapped talent nationally.”

Scott, an author whose ex-husband is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has handed away more than $14.1 billion of her income since 2019, earning international acclaim for her charitable endeavors.

Scott also set donation records for local groups last year, with gifts of $6.6 million to the Chicago Urban League and $8 million to the Chicago disability services nonprofit Access Living.

She has also given to the education nonprofit Communities in Schools of Chicago and the parent advocacy organization Community Organizing and Family Issues.

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