An unprecedented gift of $4 million has been awarded to a North Texas organization – the largest donation in the nonprofit’s 30-year history.
Communities In Schools of Greater Tarrant County (CIS-GTC) announces it received a major investment from from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott. The local gift is part of a $133.5 million unrestricted donation to the Communities In Schools network and national office.
“We are humbled and honored that Communities In Schools of Greater Tarrant County was selected as one of 40 CIS organizations from 18 states to receive such generous support from MacKenzie Scott,” said Lindsey Garner, president and chief executive officer of Communities In Schools of Greater Tarrant County. “Our team will work closely with our board to determine the most appropriate use of these unrestricted funds, for now and for the future.”
The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS-GTC serves 63 schools in 11 Tarrant County school districts (Azle, Birdville, Burleson, Crowley, Everman, Fort Worth, Granbury, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Keller, Kennedale and Lake Worth). The organization provides an additional 11 mental health clinicians in 5 of those districts. For the 2020-21 school year, CIS-GTC provided intensive case management to 4,287 local at-risk students.
The organization notes that the need for wrap-around supports, including mental health counseling, has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. CIS-GTC says it is experiencing the highest demand for case managers and mental health counselors than the organization has ever seen before. Goals for the donation include utilizing funds for immediate response to the growing demand, as well as investing in the long-term sustainability of the CIS-GTC program.
Representatives of the nonprofit say the unrestricted gift will allow them to combat inequities in public education and reimagine the way its social workers help ensure thousands more Tarrant County students’ basic needs are met.