Towards Employment Receives Historic $2 Million Gift

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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Adaora Schmiedl


Towards Employment Receives Historic $2 Million Gift


March 19, 2024 – Today, Towards Employment received $2 Million, the largest gift in its 48-year history.

MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving announced Towards Employment as one of the Yield Giving Open Call’s awardees working with people and in places experiencing the greatest need in the United States.


This historic gift enables Towards Employment to continue its work championing the potential of every person to succeed in a rewarding career, while working to create an equitable and inclusive workforce for tomorrow.


Towards Employment provides on-ramps to good jobs and has achieved significant impact. With greater credentialing, removal of barriers and long-term coaching by Towards Employment staff with significant lived experience, 1800 people advance every year – benefiting workers, their families, the employer, and the economic health of the Northeast Ohio community.


Jill Rizika, Towards Employment President and CEO said: “For our board, staff and partners who care about our work, this is a dream come true.  The world of work is rapidly changing, and this is a great opportunity to thoughtfully identify how this one-time investment can be a catalyst that ensures high-impact equitable community change.”


In March 2023, Yield Giving launched an Open Call for community-led, community-focused organizations whose explicit purpose is to enable individuals and families to achieve substantive improvement in their well-being through foundational resources.


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 this cause and underwent a final round of due diligence. Considering the incredible work of these organizations, as judged by their peers and external panelists, the donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount.


Towards Employment board chair John Allerding added: “Our strategic plan is challenging us to take concrete steps towards building a more dynamic world of work, one where all people - regardless of race, justice system involvement, or where they live - have an opportunity to thrive.  This gift will help us advance this vision and lays a strong foundation for our fundraising campaign to be announced on June 14.” (


"We are excited that our partnership with Yield Giving has resonated with so many organizations," said Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change. "In a world teeming with potential and talent, the Open Call has given us an opportunity to identify, uplift, and empower transformative organizations that often remain unseen.”


More information on the Yield Giving Open Call and other initiatives can be found at




Towards Employment

Towards Employment’s mission is to champion the potential of every person to succeed in a rewarding career today, while working to create an equitable and inclusive workforce for tomorrow. Using the WorkAdvance model as a solution, annually Towards Employment increases opportunities for 1800 of Cleveland’s workers providing skill development for in-demand jobs, comprehensive supports to address social determinants of work, direct connections to employers and extended career coaching to support advancement, while meeting the talent needs of more than 300 local business.


Learn more about our work at


Yield Giving

Established by MacKenzie Scott to share a financial fortune created through the effort of countless people, Yield Giving is named after a belief in adding value by giving up control. To date, Yield’s network of staff and advisors has yielded over $16,500,000,000 to 1,900+ non-profit teams to use as they see fit for the benefit of others. To learn more, visit


Lever for Change

Lever for Change connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems—including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change. Using an inclusive, equitable model and due diligence process, Lever for Change creates customized challenges and other tailored funding opportunities. Top-ranked teams and challenge finalists become members of the Bold Solutions Network—a growing global network that helps secure additional funding, amplify members’ impact, and accelerate social change. Founded in 2019 as a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lever for Change has influenced over $1.7 billion in grants to date and provided support to more than 145 organizations. To learn more, visit