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Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation receives $2M gift from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

A rainbow LGBTQ pride flag.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced her donation of $640 million to 361 nonprofits on Tuesday. In Pittsburgh, Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation received $2 million after applying to Scott’s open call last March.

Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation is a nonprofit that works with LGBTQ+ youth and community members in Allegheny County to provide health services, resources and education programs.

Founded in 2017, Hugh Lane was among over 6,000 applicants who applied to Scott’s open call. In the first round of donations announced on Tuesday, Scott’s organization Yield Giving more than doubled an initial pledge of $250 million.

Executive director Sarah Rosso described the donation as a “once and a lifetime gift,” saying the non-profit hopes to use the funds to open a Youth and Family Center in Pittsburgh.

“We'll be excited to work. Of course, to build the center, with the city and the county, to be able to make sure that there are resources for LGBTQ youth and their families across the region,” Rosso said. “We hope that this can become a regional resource beyond just Allegheny County and are really looking forward to working with our collaborators to make sure that happens and that this is a collective effort.”

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Rosso emphasized the importance of providing health resources and space to LGBTQ+ community members, especially during a time of pushback around the country.

“It feels like a very important time for us to do something tangible, to show up for trans youth, for LGBTQ youth, and for our communities broadly,” Rosso said. “And so we're really excited to be able to take steps and move in this direction and kick off a much bigger campaign to do this work.”

Betül Tuncer is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in Media and Professional Communications and Legal Studies and pursuing a Digital Media certificate and a Museum Studies minor.