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MacKenzie Scott gifts $10M to United Way of Northern New Jersey

NEW JERSEY – United Way of Northern New Jersey received a $10 million one-time gift from author and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who recognized the organization’s advocacy on behalf of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families in New Jersey and across the country.

“We thank Ms. Scott for shining this megawatt spotlight on our work,” said CEO Kiran Handa Gaudioso. “We intend to honor her gift by continuing the innovative research and data-driven changes needed to bring about lasting economic equity for ALICE families at the local, state, and national levels.”

The donation gives United Way stability during a tumultuous time. It recognizes that this local nonprofit has stretched itself to become a leader on behalf of the 35 million ALICE families across this country who earn above the Federal Poverty Level but have been systematically priced out of survival.

In addition to its work creating on-the-ground change for ALICE workers in northern New Jersey, this United Way inspired a grassroots movement that has extended beyond the region and state borders.

More than a decade ago, the organization developed groundbreaking new measurements and research revealing that financial hardship far exceeds what’s captured by federal poverty guidelines. Since launching the United For ALICE project, it has taken off across the country and now counts more than 600 United Ways and other partners in 22 states.

Gaudioso expressed it was an honor to be among the 384 organizations chosen out of a field of 6,490 initially considered and deemed in Ms. Scott’s words to have “strong leadership teams and results.”

“Our pride extends to the 50 other organizations also recognized by Ms. Scott that use the ALICE framework for their critical work. We believe this is a strong vote of confidence for all of us,” Gaudioso said.

Like all nonprofits, United Way has been faced with an explosion in need during a challenging fundraising environment, said United Way Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Michael Gerardi.

“We are humbled by the faith Ms. Scott has placed in us to achieve results and our team intends to maximize this gift for ALICE families for years to come,” Dr. Gerardi said. “We are just getting started; we invite others to follow Ms. Scott’s lead and give ALICE hope by joining the movement.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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