Achieving the Dream (ATD) announced today that the organization has been selected by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to receive a $20 million gift, the largest in its history. The gift will allow ATD to innovate and scale work in areas like teaching and learning, holistic student supports, data, and equity while also supporting the long-term financial resiliency of the organization.
“Achieving the Dream is honored, proud, and grateful to be among the nonprofits chosen for this significant investment,” ATD president and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout, noted. “We are thankful for MacKenzie Scott’s belief in the power of higher education as a ‘proven pathway to opportunity’ and her trust and confidence in ATD’s mission. We are committed to using this investment to accelerate accomplishment of our new strategic plan that will support our Network colleges in becoming accessible hubs of learning, credentialing, and economic mobility that eliminate inequities in educational and workforce outcomes and lead the way forward in catalyzing equitable and economically vibrant communities.”
Many community colleges that are part of the ATD Network are also benefitting from MacKenzie Scott’s philanthropy and commitment to equity. “These gifts to community colleges will lift up the voices of community college students who are the people MacKenzie Scott is hoping to reach, ‘people struggling against inequities,’ who ‘deserve center stage in stories about change that they are creating,’” said Stout.
ATD’s new strategic plan will demand an infrastructure that can keep pace with rapid, adaptable field innovation. “Unrestricted gifts like this are rare for nonprofits who are often program heavy and infrastructure lean,” said Stout. In addition to supporting infrastructure improvements, Stout said, the gift might lead to strategic and matching re-granting to pilot new innovative work with clusters of leading ATD colleges and/or to help underfunded colleges join the Network. This approach, Stout said, brings to life MacKenzie Scott’s vision that “generosity is generative” and that “sharing makes more.”