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Mackenzie Scott Giving Announcement : "Helping Any of Us Can Help Us All"

Hello Friends,

In 2019, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give away at least half of her wealth over the course of her lifetime! Yesterday, her 2022 list of 465 high-impact organizations was announced. Why am I telling you all of this? 

I’m telling you, because Friendship Bench is one of the organisations to be generously gifted by the philanthropist who is making waves in the world with her “no strings attached” style of giving.

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The gift is a bold commitment from MacKenzie Scott – going towards our vision of getting a Friendship Bench within walking distance for all. By “all” we mean the approximately 280M people globally who are living with depression of which more than 75% in low- and middle- income countries have no access to treatment. 

This gift is an endorsement of the Friendship Bench mission; TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF DEPRESSION. It also shows confidence in our evidence, which is that through creating safe spaces for people to talk with a trained ‘Grandmother’ and to find a sense of belonging in Circle Kubatana Tose support groups, we can improve peoples’ mental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.


This gift allows us to make significant strides towards achieving the ambitious goals we set out in our three years strategic plan;

  • to reach 2 million people  

  • to train 5000 community health workers or equivalent

  • to reduce depression by 70% at a 12 month follow up with our clients!


On top of this, it allows us to work towards strengthening our implementation systems and therefore strengthen the larger health care system we connect with, as well as further develop a more sustainable mode of operation by investing in digital technology to increase access to training and supervision and intensify our monitoring & evaluation to ensure high quality of care. 


We still have a way to go towards our $15M fundraising goal but this is a milestone in our movement and we are so excited to be able to share it with you. 


We would like to say a huge THANK YOU for your belief in us up to this point and for encouraging us to put such a bold vision out to the world. Your commitment to growing our impact has laid a solid foundation for Friendship Bench to connect people suffering from depression to empathic listeners who carry hope and save lives – on simple wooden park benches. 


In Gratitude,

Dixon & the Friendship Bench team


SEE MACKENZIE SCOTT’S original ANNOUNCEMENT on Medium to see all the amazing organisations selection for 2022

If you have a request to be in touch with the donor’s team, please email


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