StoriesA Moment of Gratitude for MacKenzie Scott

By Lysa Ratliff | March 28, 2022

“Equity can only be realized when all people involved have an opportunity to help shape it.” MacKenzie Scott

During the time we are celebrating Women’s History Month, I want to acknowledge and express gratitude for one of the most phenomenal among us. MacKenzie Scott. What a human. She is transforming the philanthropic space, one gift at a time, all while giving the people who so passionately lead this work the power to create better outcomes for all.

As MacKenzie Scott recently revealed the list of recipients in her latest round of giving, the gravity of these gifts stopped me in my tracks. I was inspired by the generosity and the knowledge of just what kind of change this would bring to millions of lives. But more than that, I was incredibly moved by the power of women supporting women. About 60% of the gifts were given to organizations led by women. Women like me, who have had quite the journey to become leaders in the philanthropic space, navigating a field that has always been white male dominated. Women who may have been brought up to believe a limited view of where their “place” should be based on cultural or traditional norms in society, and choosing differently. Women who wear many wonderful hats – spouse, mother, caretaker, friend – and are also shattering glass ceilings and carrying out bold dreams for the future of the world. How validating is this!? Together we are taking the charge alongside MacKenzie Scott to leverage our lived experiences as assets in amplifying the voice and power of community, ensuring the people who experience inequity are also the ones to solve it.

KABOOM! was one of the 465 organizations who received a gift from MacKenzie Scott, and we are so grateful for this extraordinary investment that is allowing us to strive more boldly towards achieving our mission. On the heels of our $14 million gift, KABOOM! launched the 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, our bold plan to accelerate progress to achieve our mission, starting with ending playspace inequity in 25 places in five years. We wanted to make sure we were modeling her unprecedented moves by making some of our own. We feel an urgency to pour into this generation of kids, and have discovered since our announcement that we stand with a large community of others who are ready to do the same. Since the announcement, we have been building partnerships with communities, nonprofits, municipal agencies, and other organizations that provide a network of playspaces where kids live and learn. Together, we plan to identify the specific gaps in access to quality playspaces to ensure future places to play are built where there is the greatest need to create positive outcomes for kids and communities. I’ve never been more invigorated by the work ahead and certain about the path we are on to make a transformational impact.

MacKenzie Scott, we thank you for seeing us, for believing in all of us, and for using your resources to try to course-correct decades of going down the wrong path. The gravity of what this means to us is historic and should be celebrated, this month especially. KABOOM!, along with so many of our peers, are now able to confidently lead the work we know will benefit us all.

Trusting us to decide how to use the full investment is especially generous and unprecedented. I’ve spent a large part of my career in fundraising, and the process to search for and influence organizations to believe in your mission enough to support you can be deflating and demotivating after numerous rejections or contingencies needed to secure funding. MacKenzie Scott is making it easy for us to do the work, and that philanthropic approach is breathing fresh air and life into nonprofits across the country. We are now more equipped than ever to turn our shared commitment into accelerated impact in communities, knowing that progress for one is progress for us all.

About the Author

Lysa Ratliff

In early 2021, Lysa Ratliff became the newest CEO of KABOOM!. When not spending time with her own kids and husband, Lysa enjoys spending her playtime at home and in her garden growing fruits and vegetables.

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