Record-breaking donation benefits children in seven area school districts
(New Braunfels) — A local non-profit organization, that works to provide support services for students across the area, is getting a record-breaking donation this week.
Chris Douglas, chief executive officer for Communities In Schools of South Central Texas, says they have received an astounding $3 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Douglas says the one-time donation is amazing news for their organization, and it goes a long way in supporting the work that they do on behalf of children in this area.
“I received a call out of the blue without asking for any money from a liaison for philanthropist MacKenzie Scott who was married previously to Jeff Bezos and has taken from her divorce a four percent stock in Amazon, and they have given, MacKenzie Scott, has given gifts to four of the Communities In Schools programs across the country and we are one of those. So, she has given us $3 million to support the work that we do,” said Douglas.
Scott’s donation to Communities In Schools of South Central Texas is part of a much larger overall donation to the national Communities In Schools Organization.
In all, Scott donated more than $133 million to CIS, which is easily the largest gift ever received by the nationwide program in its 40-year history.
Douglas says the donation clearly shows that Scott believes in the work being down by Communities In Schools programs all across the nation.
“This is an overall contribution of $133.5 million to Communities In Schools programs across the country which is truly a validation of the work that we do. Her team just doesn’t give this money without looking deeply into where we put our money, what are outcomes are, what kind of work we do and so what this says to all of us and what it should say to our partners and our donors that we are doing great work because we have been selected by them for this big gift,” said Douglas.
This was an unrestricted gift from Scott, which means that the $3 million donation can be used in any way that they would like. Douglas says they are working now to determine how to best put this money to use.
“Our board of directors are the ones who are going to make the decision about how those funds are spent or invested because it is critical to us that we use that for the best interest of the program long-term,” said Douglas.
If you’re not familiar with the work of Communities In Schools, there’s a good chance that they are working in partnership with a school district in your area.
Douglas says they have staff members that work inside of schools.
They build one-on-one relationships with students and help them to move beyond the barriers that might exists in the classroom, at home, or in the community.
“School districts ask us to come in and provide services in schools so we place a social worker or a counselor in the school that are identified by the superintendent. They pay us a portion of the cost and we come up with the rest and our person, the social worker or our counselor, addresses the needs of those students who need extra help to be successful. Maybe it’s little things like school supplies or helping them organize their backpack or maybe it’s a bigger issue like helping the family with utilities or rent or food or identifying issues or resources. We partner with resources in the community but the bottom line is our goal is to help level the playing field for every child that is in that school system so we can help everyone be successful and go on with greater life, so we even work with kids after high school. It’s just a phenomenal program and our people are the ones who make the difference. Our staff are the ones to be applauded for this,” said Douglas.
Douglas says they are already working in a number of schools in the
Seguin ISD. She says they work with districts of all sizes in this area to make sure that students get the services and support that they need.
“We have six staff in the Seguin ISD. We have four in Marion ISD and we have another 13 in Schertz-Cibolo ISD and then we also serve four other school districts in Comal County, Caldwell County and Gonzales County,” said Douglas.
This record-breaking $3 million donation to Communities In Schools of South Central Texas is a welcomed and unexpected gift. Douglas says they are excited to receive the support, but she also knows that there are other fundraising and outreach work that will still need to continue.
She says there are a number of ways that people can help them in their mission to support local kids.
“We have a Facebook page and it’s Communities In Schools of South Central Texas or you can go to our website www.cis-sct.org or give us a call. I’m happy to talk with anyone. We need your help, and we want to partner with you if we are not already. We already have great partners in the Guadalupe County area and we just appreciate being a part of this community and being able to provide services and resources to families,” said Douglas.
Douglas made the announcement via the CIS of South-Central Texas’ social media pages. She also made the announcement during an interview on radio station KWED in Seguin.
According to a press release from CIS of South-Central Texas, the organization began in New Braunfels almost 30 years ago. Over the past five years, it has worked to double the number of schools and students that they serve in the area.
This year, they say more than 40,000 students will benefit from the positive impact of Communities In Schools.
They currently work with 59 schools in seven school districts in this area.
The list of districts includes the Comal, New Braunfels, Seguin, Luling, Marion, Nixon-Smiley and Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City school districts.