A philanthropist delivered an Amazonian-sized donation in the form of $3 million grant to an area non-profit so the organization can continue to helping young people in need for many years.
In December, Communities In Schools of South Central Texas received the one-time donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The funds will help sustain Communities In Schools of South Central Texas in its mission helping students succeed, and shows recognition on a national level of the good work her organization does, CIS CEO Chris Douglas said.
“The fact that she and her team found our nonprofit and thought we were doing such a good job that they wanted to help us be more stable, that means a lot,” Douglas said. “If they believe in us at that level of giving us $3 million, then others should feel confident in giving us their gifts as well.”
Communities In Schools of South Central Texas, which began in New Braunfels nearly 30 years ago, is one of 40 Communities In Schools affiliates across the United States Scott selected to receive a portion of $133.5 million, Douglas said.
Scott chose the South Central Texas affiliate due to its demonstrated success, strong leadership and documented impact to students in public schools, Douglas said.
Board of director leadership hasn’t decided exactly how to use the donation but will make the determination to ensure longterm sustainability of the programs and services Communities In Schools provides, she said.
“We’ve been here 29 years, let’s let it be here another 29 years,” Douglas said. “If we handle this correctly, it’s going to make more money and be the seed money to become the fund that will support this organization from now on.”
CIS of South Central Texas’ mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life, Douglas said. The need of the students CIS served over the last few years has grown as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Students are experiencing a lack of food, access to medical care, basic needs and hope, on top of anxiety, fear, and other obstacles, Douglas said.
The nonprofit’s school-based staff works inside schools and forges one-on-one relationships with students to help solve issues and eliminate barriers to proper education.
Serving seven school districts, the South Central Texas affiliate has grown 50% over the last five years and tries to make positive impacts on 59 school campuses across Guadalupe, Gonzales, Comal and Caldwell counties.
It takes an annual budget of about $5.5 million, Douglas said. Most of that goes to pay for exemplary, professional staff members who do a wonderful job, she said.
“As a result, we have used a lot of our funds. This funding will be used to provide us with longterm sustainability,” Douglas said. “The board has not voted on the final idea of what to do with it. But they are looking to put the money in investments and have the money work for us so we could have additional resources as needed but it will not be part of our ongoing operational budget.”CIS South Central Texas began in New Braunfels 29 years ago. Over the past 5 years CIS has worked to double the number of schools and students served. This year more than 40,000 students will have the positive impact of CIS-SCT, Douglas said.
Students will receive more counseling and other critical services, she said.
To accomplish its goals, the nonprofit organization still will need the help of the public and its faithful donors, Douglas said.
MacKenzie’s donation, albeit large, alone will not be enough to continue operations of Communities In Schools South Central Texas, she said.
“This doesn’t change our need for continued contributions from our donors, Rotary clubs and Lions clubs,” Douglas said. “We continue to need that. That is not going to change for us.
“This is going to provide us with longterm stability.”