When I got the call that United Way of Southern Nevada would be receiving its largest gift in our 63-year history, a thousand emotions hit me at once. Joy. Shock. Pride. Most of all, I was filled with gratitude that with her donation of $10 million, philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott had sent a clear message that the work we do, and the community in which we do it, matters.
This support of our work shows that Ms. Scott believes in United Way of Southern Nevada. She believes in the vision of our Board of Directors. She believes in the meaningful work of our staff, partners and volunteers. She believes in the generosity and commitment of our donors and is adding her support to stand with them and encourage others to join them.
Over the past nine months, need in our community increased dramatically and we stepped up to help Southern Nevada respond and recover. We raised $2.4 million to help 127,000 individuals struggling through the pandemic to keep food on the table, a roof over their heads and the lights on. We helped coordinate efforts for more than 200 nonprofits to provide resources to those in need. Our Volunteer Connect platform was up and running in a matter of days, when we were told it would take months. We distributed 274,000 face coverings and 6,780 bottles of hand sanitizer to keep local businesses and nonprofits safe and open.
Through this we continued our ongoing transformational work to break the cycle of poverty. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, we remained committed to helping children start school ready to learn, ensuring students can graduate, helping people pursue college, and assisting individuals in getting back to work. Our community entrusted us with $1.7 million in CARES Act funding to provide childcare so parents could return to work, and children could get the education they deserve. Our investment in education, workforce development and community support ensured that Southern Nevadans could continue the path to success.
It is said a crisis does not build character; it reveals it. If that’s true, then Las Vegas can rest assured its character is fully intact. Ms. Scott’s donation is not just a validation of United Way of Southern Nevada’s efforts, but the way all of our partner nonprofits rallied when Southern Nevada needed us most.
While we are honored and humbled to receive such a gift to support this essential work, this is only the beginning. Many more people are losing their jobs, facing eviction, and wondering how to put food on the table. The needs of our community are escalating every day and we need local and national support to meet these needs. Just as Ms. Scott invested in us, we are hopeful our entire community will continue to invest in a stronger future for Southern Nevada.
Every donation you make to United Way of Southern Nevada is a step closer to Southern Nevada’s long-term recovery. It will take all of us working together to help our community recover and rebuild. Please join us and donate today at uwsn.org.
Kyle B. Rahn
United Way of Southern Nevada