San Jose, Calif., August 4, 2020 — Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting diverse, resilient entrepreneurs with funding, advocacy and business advice, announced today it has received a $15 million transformative grant from MacKenzie Scott. This is the largest individual donation Accion Opportunity Fund has received in its 26-year history.
The grant accelerates AOF’s efforts to reach thousands of underserved entrepreneurs with $1.2 billion in capital across the United States in the next five years. It also kicks off a $100 million capacity-building campaign, scheduled to launch fall 2020, to increase resource availability, including access to affordable credit, connections, and quality business advice for entrepreneurs who may otherwise be left behind.
“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” Ms. Scott said in a statement regarding her philanthropy. “Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.”
Accion Opportunity Fund creates a more equitable financial system by finding, funding, and supporting small businesses run by people of color, women and immigrants. Nearly 90% of businesses in its portfolio are run by entrepreneurs of color, women, and immigrants.
AOF CEO Luz Urrutia praised the gift from the philanthropist and author. “We are deeply humbled and grateful for Ms. Scott’s extraordinary generosity and confidence in Accion Opportunity Fund and other organizations that are working tirelessly to widen economic opportunities for many who have been undervalued and excluded for far too long.”
Mackenzie Scott donated 1.7 billion to organizations tackling a variety of social issues. Causes supporting women, racial equality and economic mobility — all causes supported by AOF and impacted by the organization’s mission – remain a focus of Ms. Scott’s philanthropy.
Phil Black, True Ventures Co-founder, Accion Opportunity Fund Board member, and chair of AOF’s upcoming Campaign Steering Committee, said, “Ms. Scott’s leadership and generosity — especially during this moment of a global pandemic and the fight for racial equality — will inspire other philanthropists and advocates as AOF advances its mission and bolsters its impact in a time when resources are more important than ever.”
“Her focus on building a more just, equitable society reflects our highest ambitions, which makes this grant, in this moment, so special,” said Black.
In March 2020, Accion, US Network and Opportunity Fund came together to build the first national, inclusive financial institution dedicated to driving racial equity and financial health for small businesses and their owners.
Accion Opportunity Fund is a U.S.-based nonprofit working to create an inclusive, healthy financial system that supports the nation’s small business owners for nearly 30 years. For thirty years, the organization has supported underserved entrepreneurs — including entrepreneurs of color, low-income entrepreneurs, and women – who often lack access to the financial services they need to build and grow their businesses.