The non-profit La Pine Community Health Center (LCHC), which largely serves a rural, high-risk population, has received a $1.6 million donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The money, which LCHC says came as a total surprise, will help toward the creation of a Wellness Center building on its La Pine campus.
The center, which bills itself as providing accessible and affordable healthcare to residents of southern Deschutes County and parts of Lake and Klamath counties, said the money was donated through Scott’s Yield Giving foundation.
In a statement from LCHC, the Wellness Center will include a new dental clinic, imaging center, behavioral health services, administrative offices, and a large community room for educational events and meetings.
LCHC said it learned of the unexpected gift in September. The non-profit expressed surprise about how much Yield Giving knew about the organization.
Trapp said LCHC was about to launch a the public phase of a $5 million capital campaign for the Wellness Center when the call came in about Scott’s donation.
“It was precisely the kind of boost we needed to kickstart the campaign. We know it will inspire our Central Oregon community and other philanthropic foundations to follow with their own support,” Trapp said.
LCHC says it sees more than 6,000 patients per year for primary care. LCHC says it relies heavily on reimbursement from the Oregon Health Plan, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and grants to cover their $10 million annual operating budget.
The new facility will add four more primary care providers, allowing the center to accommodate nearly 5,000 new patients like Dean Dyer.
“It’s awesome when people make donations that change lives. That’s what it’s gonna do, it’s gonna change lives. More people have more access, the equipment will be better. Everything will be better,” Dyer said.
Scott is the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The couple split in 2019 and, according to Forbes, Scott received a 4% stake in Amazon in the divorce.
Scott signed the Giving Pledge, vowing to donate half of her wealth over her lifetime. Her Yield Giving website says she has donated more than $14 billion to 1,600 non-profits. She claims to attach no strings to the donations, allowing the recipients to use the money as they see fit.
In Forbes annual list of the 400 richest people in the world, which was announced this week, Scott is listed at No. 21 with a net worth of $37.1 billion.
LCHC said Scott granted $1.4 million to the Central Oregon Chapter of Friends of the Children in 2022 as part of a $44 million gift to the national Friends of the Children organization.