March 21, 2022 By Christian Murray
A Long Island City-based organization that helps people who have been incarcerated get back on their feet has received a $10 million award care of philanthropist MacKenzie Scott—of Amazon fame.
The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization based at 29-76 Northern Blvd., was given the funds by Scott in recognition of its work helping people integrate back into society after being incarcerated.
Scott was married to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and when they divorced in 2019 she received $36 billion in Amazon stock. That year, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a charitable-giving campaign where participants promise to give away most of their wealth to charity over their lifetime or in their will.
“With this generous gift, MacKenzie Scott has chosen to invest in Fortune and in the inherent potential in people, regardless of their pasts,” said JoAnne Page, president and CEO of The Fortune Society.
“This grant is an important acknowledgement not only of our success in supporting justice-impacted people with crucial services and innovative housing, but also of our advocacy leadership in advancing justice and equity. We are enormously grateful to MacKenzie Scott for this grant, which will further our mission to strengthen the fabric of our communities.”
The Fortune Society, founded in 1967, is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organizations, serving approximately 9,000 impacted New Yorkers in a typical year. The organization provides job training programs, job placement services and housing services. In addition, it also provides substance abuse treatment, medical assistance and transitional services such as the Rikers Island Discharge Enhancement (R.I.D.E.) program,
The non profit operates out of its Long Island City center and two facilities in Harlem. The organization is nationally recognized for developing model programs that help people with criminal justice histories rebuild their lives.
“Fortune’s work has become more important throughout its 55-year history as incarceration rates have increased, most heavily burdening communities of color disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system,” said Dennis Kozlowski, Board Chair at The Fortune Society,
“MacKenzie Scott’s gift recognizes the efforts Fortune makes to not only mitigate but to eliminate the long-term harms that mass incarceration inflicts on individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole.”