Jobs for the Future Announces $20 Million Donation from MacKenzie Scott
Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit that drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems, has announced a $20 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This gift will launch JFF’s new $60 million fundraising campaign to accelerate its North Star goal: in 10 years, 75 million people facing systemic barriers to advancement will work in quality jobs.
“We are tremendously grateful to MacKenzie Scott for her extraordinary gift and recognition of JFF’s commitment to equitable economic advancement for all,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “This donation will support the systems change needed to help millions of people who are shut out of quality jobs and the chance for a better life. As JFF embarks on a bold vision to design and scale the solutions this country needs to ensure our education and workforce systems are more equitable, better connected, and easier to navigate, this donation will be instrumental in helping us get there.”
Despite consistent demand for labor, more than half of workers in the U.S. labor force are not in quality jobs and face systemic barriers to advancement. JFF’s 10-year North Star goal to help 75 million people work in quality jobs is focused on people without a four-year college degree, people of color, women of all backgrounds, and people with criminal records. JFF defines a quality job as providing not only a living wage and benefits but also stability, flexibility at work, autonomy, and opportunity for economic advancement.
“The magnitude of this gift matches the magnitude of our goal and demonstrates the collective nature of our North Star,” said Amy Seusing, chief development officer at JFF. “We can only create a stronger, more equitable economy and help millions of workers advance through deep partnerships with leading public, private, and nonprofit sector changemakers. We applaud Ms. Scott’s clear and intentional investment in education and workforce development organizations across the nation—we go farther together.”
Scott’s gift will launch JFF’s new North Star fundraising campaign aimed at raising $60 million over the next three years. Funds from the new campaign will go toward building the organization’s capacity—scaling its programs, research, thought leadership, and policy and convening power. JFF also plans to grow its dual transformation approach, which involves driving the transformation of traditional education and workforce systems while actively testing and launching innovations across the field.
This donation will enable JFF to build on a strong period of innovation and growth. This year, JFF launched a new Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work to convene stakeholders across sectors to shape the national dialogue on AI and the future of working and learning. In September, JFF announced the transfer of one of the Markle Foundation’s marquee initiatives, the Rework America Alliance, bringing with it the Alliance’s unique collaboration of education providers, civil rights organizations, private sector employers, labor unions, and state governments that are helping workers who have built skills through experience and training move into quality jobs.
JFF launched two new centers in 2022—the Center for Racial Economic Equity and the Center for Justice & Economic Advancement—and a new Employer Mobilization practice to help employers support the economic advancement of their workers while meeting business goals. Through its innovation arm, JFFLabs, JFF is also embracing the power of cutting-edge technology to drive equitable economic advancement, and JFF’s new subsidiary, JFFVentures, is an impact investment fund supporting innovative products and services aiding economic advancement for learners and workers.
In 2022, JFF acquired Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation’s second chance hiring program to help increase employment opportunities for the nearly 70 million people in the United States with criminal records. JFF also acquired Education Quality Outcomes Standards (EQOS) that year, and recently received a major grant from GitLab Foundation to partner with the Burning Glass Institute to expand the EQOS framework to measure education and training programs based on employment and earnings outcomes.
“The need to modernize our current education and workforce systems and eliminate our nation’s growing equity gap has never been so urgent,” said Tod Loofbourrow, JFF’s board chair and chair and CEO of ViralGains. “Gifts like Ms. Scott’s, and the funding we plan to raise during the North Star campaign, will allow JFF to not simply keep pace with our evolving economy, but predict emerging needs and invest in smart, effective ways to champion economic advancement, quality jobs and ultimately a quality life for the learners and workers of today and tomorrow.”