MacKenzie Scott gifts $1M to Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan

Funds to support service expansion, financial literacy education, staffing, more

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2020, file photo, students wearing face masks work on computers at Tibbals Elementary School in Murphy, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Lm Otero, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $1 million to Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan (JASEM), a nonprofit focused on helping young people prepare for their future and economic success.

The $1 million donation to Detroit-based JASEM -- the largest single gift the organization has ever received -- is part of a larger $38.8 million donation from Scott to Junior Achievement USA. The money, which has been deemed unrestricted, is being split among the national nonprofit and 26 local franchise offices, including Detroit. Junior Achievement USA is receiving $10 million, and the 26 offices are splitting the remaining $28.8 million.

“When I received the call, I was moved to tears,” said Jason Lee, president and CEO of JASEM. “This investment is an acknowledgement of the positive impact of JA programming in our region. It could not have come at a better time, and we are extremely grateful.”

The Southeast Michigan office serves about 31,000 students each year in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Monroe, Lapeer, Livingston, Genesee, Shiawasee and St. Clair counties, officials said. Programs are typically designed for K-12 students, but the nonprofit recently decided to expand services to young adults between the ages of 18-25. Some of the funds from the $1 donation will be used to support this service expansion, officials said.

The donation will also be used, in part, to support a new financial literacy education program aimed at teaching Metro Detroit youth skills needed to “own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.”

Related: Detroit Pistons partner with Zelle, JASEM to improve financial literacy

The remainder of the unrestricted funds, which were announced Tuesday, will be used for capital improvement projects and staffing, according to JASEM.

Junior Achievement USA and its franchise offices are part of a global organization aimed at building the capacity of youth and preparing them for future success.

Philanthropist Scott has donated more than $12 billion since 2020 to more than 1,000 organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Planned Parenthood and Habitat for Humanity International.

Read more: MacKenzie Scott gives $39 million to Junior Achievement USA

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.