What seemed like "spam" turned into YMCA of Greater Omaha's largest donation

Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 12:06:02-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The YMCA of Greater Omaha received an email late last year about a donor interested in speaking to them. They thought it might be spam, but it ended up leading to their largest donation to date.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated billions of dollars to more than 400 organizations after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

In Nebraska, she donated $10 million to the YMCA of Greater Omaha and $15 million to Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Chris Tointon, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha, was surprised and elated that his organization was the recipient of such a large, unrestricted gift.

"She mentioned leadership abilities, how we serve the community during COVID times and making sure we're an equitable organization taking care of marginalized communities," said Tointon.

They will use the money to raise the minimum wage among employees from $9/hr to $11/hr.

They say this will allow them to reach more people. "Create better access to our pools and facilities, reaching out to community members who maybe don't feel as welcome other places. We're doing things like multiple language employees, multiple languages for our print and media materials. We're reaching out to our LGBTQ+ community," said Tointon.

They also will use the money to improve facilities and upgrade equipment.

Up until now, their largest gift had been $3.5 million.

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