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Communities In Schools latest recipient of Scott donation

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Statewide nonprofit Communities In Schools of South Carolina is the latest recipient of a multimillion-dollar donation from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott.

The $2.5 million received by the S.C. organization is part of a $133.5 million donation to the Communities In Schools Network and National Office, according to a news release. 

Communities In Schools’ mission is to surround students with support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The donation will help the organization fulfill that mission in the face of challenges such as social isolation, economic crisis and trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal is to bring the CIS model to every one of the 650 Title I-eligible schools in South Carolina,” Jamie Cooper, Communities In Schools president and CEO, said in the release. “Currently, we operate in 34 schools, supporting 20,000 students, so we still have a long way to go, and we will need ongoing support to reach the nearly half a million students across our state who are living in poverty.”

Established locally in 1987, the nonprofit saw 99.7% of students enrolled in its programs remain in school for the 2020-21 academic year. 

In January, Communities In Schools affiliates in Greenville, the Midlands and the Charleston area merged to form Communities In Schools of South Carolina and increase the organization’s statewide impact.

Scott, formerly married to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, embarked on a giving spree in 2020. In December of that year, she donated $10 million to United Way of the Midlands. 

She also donated an undisclosed amount to Greenville-based nonprofit CommunityWorks as part of a $4.2 billion donation to 384 organizations at that time. In a statement on online publishing platform Medium, Scott said she and her advisers chose the nonprofit recipients after receiving input from hundreds of leaders and volunteers and analyzing thousands of pages of data analysis examining community needs and program outcomes.

In another round of giving, Scott donated to Charleston’s International African American Museum as part of a $2.7 billion donation divvied up among 286 organizations in June.

“Today is an important day for students who are underserved, under-resourced, and in need of supports to build a brighter future,” Rey Saldaña, president and CEO of Communities In Schools National Office, said. “This unrestricted gift allows us to combat the inequities in public education and reimagine the way schools operate and show up for all students.”

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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