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The largest gift in Spy Hop’s history will have a lasting impact on Utah youth for generations to come.

Hope is not just a feeling. It is a verb. It requires attention and nurturing. Hope can be propelled and fueled with trust, something that is not often given freely or without strings attached. Today Spy Hop is thrilled to share the news that MacKenzie Scott made a transformational gift of $3 million to our organization. Her stunning gift is one that fills us with hope and the belief that good does in fact beget good. Her trust in our organization and our ability to do what we do best is the type of encouragement that does more than inspire change, it allows us to act.

“We are honored by Ms. Scott’s generosity, not just to Spy Hop, but to organizations like ours around the country. Her stunning gift validates the work our staff does to mentor young people to find their voice, tell their stories and create positive change in their lives and the world,” says Executive Director, Kasandra VerBrugghen. “These funds are truly a gift to our community. They will enable us to increase our impact for generations of Spy Hop students. This unrestricted donation comes at a pivotal time for our organization, it gives us the ability to think deeply, dream big, and ultimately create a plan that will guide our organization forward,” she continued.

Scott announced her gift to 286 organizations via a blog post on Medium. The headline, “286 Teams Empowering Voices the World Needs to Hear” sends shivers up our collective spine, because the core of Spy Hop’s mission is to do just that; to share youth voices with our communities and to amplify the voices that are often silenced. Her philanthropic efforts to give freely translates directly to the value of a single story. It is the ripple effect that is inspiring, one story shared, one voice amplified, that has the ability to transform us all. “We chose to make relatively large gifts to organizations both to enable their work and as a signal of trust and encouragement, to them and to others,” Ms. Scott wrote. 

“The work Spy Hop does for the young people in our community is life-changing. As Board Chair, I am a witness to the front lines of the tireless work, passion, and commitment that goes into fulfilling Spy Hop’s mission. Our staff and board are deeply committed to our community and our vision for the future is aspirational. A gift of this magnitude for this organization is a game-changer,”  commented Nathan Thomas, Spy Hop Board Chair upon hearing the incredible news.  He continued: “The recent opening of Kahlert Youth Media Arts Center along with this gift gives Spy Hop the resources it needs to implement a long-range plan to ensure the organization’s longevity and commitment to positive youth development for Utah youth. We are immensely grateful to Ms. Scott for her faith in us.” 

What is next for Spy Hop is an open question that we are excited to answer with input from our community. We feel valued and validated to be a recipient of a gift from a philanthropist who is attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change. We too know that change is needed, it is often messy, but the beauty is in the journey. As MacKenzie Scott put it, “Generosity is generative. Sharing makes more.” This gift is for our community. With pride in our heart and a fire in our belly, we will honor the significance of this moment and harness the power of the dreams of what we can achieve together.

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