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MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving Awards $2 Million to Pasadena’s Families Forward Learning Center

Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 | 6:46 am

Pasadena-based nonprofit Families Forward Learning Center will receive a historic $2 million gift from MacKenzie Scott’s philanthropic initiative, Yield Giving.

“This is a transformational gift that will be used to expand vital onsite services and seed new initiatives that will not only impact our children and families directly, but also broaden our reach,” said Elva Sandoval, Families Forward’s Executive Director, in a Tuesday announcement.

The Center is a pioneer in two-generation early childhood education that provides free education and social services to low-income families with children from birth to five years old in Pasadena and surrounding communities. It is housed in a LEED Gold facility at 980 N. Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, featuring open-space classrooms and an expansive children’s outdoor play yard.

Families Forward Board of Directors President Julie Ward sees the gift as an affirmation that the Center’s approach works. 

“This grant really affirms what our organization has been doing for over 60 years, and we’ll continue to do for the Pasadena community in need. It really is an affirmation of the impact of our two-generational approach, which is unique because we educate both the children and the parents,” Ward said.

“We support the children and the parents, and we support others in our community in ways that are a little less visible but so important to the community as a whole.”

The Open Call received 6,353 applications and initially planned for 250 awards of $1 million each. In the Fall of 2023, organizations top-rated by their peers advanced to a second round of review by an external Evaluation Panel recruited for experience relevant to the applicants’ cause, and underwent a final round of due diligence.

“MacKenzie Scott’s unrestricted giving is a breath of fresh air for nonprofits,” said Sandoval. “Her approach gives us the flexibility to invest in both short-term projects and long-term strategies. We are honored and humbled to be recognized among so many equally worthy organizations that create so many opportunities for families of meager or modest means.” 

For more about Families Forward call (626) 792-2687 or visit:

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