Valley of the Sun United Way on Friday announced a surprise $25 million gift from one of the founders of Amazon.com on the same day that the nonprofit unveiled its five-year strategy to address needs in Maricopa County.
The gift from Amazon co-founder MacKenzie Scott was the largest single donation ever received by Valley of the Sun United Way. United Way officials said they didn’t apply for the donation and were told about it unexpectedly in December as they were putting together their strategic plan.
The funding will be used directly to help the community over the next five years, said John Graham, the incoming chair of the nonprofit’s board of directors.
In particular, the money will help stabilize programs that have been under pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, including food assistance, emergency shelters, efforts to close the digital divide and more.
“The gift from MacKenzie Scott helps elevate and accelerate key parts of United Way’s five-year plan, however, these are big issues with big goals and to achieve them we’re going to need local organizations working together and support of local funders and volunteers more than ever before to truly move the needle," Graham said in a statement.