'We're all shocked': Billionaire donates $9 million to nonprofit with clinics in Palatine, Aurora

A chain of nonprofit health centers serving the Chicago area and some downstate communities has received a $9 million donation from a billionaire's philanthropic organization.

Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness, which has facilities in Palatine, Carpentersville, Aurora, Chicago and elsewhere in the state, was awarded the money by MacKenzie Scott's Yield Giving program via the Chicago Community Trust, a foundation that, among other things, funnels contributions from donors to recipients.

The grant surprised Aunt Martha's CEO Raul Garza and his staff. Scott's team secretly researched the organization and alerted Aunt Martha's only after a funding decision had been made, Garza said Wednesday.

In fact, Garza and his staff were reluctant to speak with the Yield Giving representative because she wouldn't say why she was reaching out.

It was only after someone at Chicago Community Trust advised Garza to return the call immediately that did he do so.

"We're all shocked," Garza said. "We're all thankful."

Headquartered in Olympia Fields, Aunt Martha's offers adult and pediatric medical services, pregnancy care, mental health services, dental care and more. Its staff will treat anyone, regardless of whether a patient has medical insurance.

The agency also provides family crisis services and medical services to kids in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' care.

The $9 million gift represents about 10% of the roughly $90 million budget that keeps Aunt Martha's running. Garza called the money life-changing.

The organization hasn't yet decided how to use the gift. "We're exploring what makes the most sense," Garza said.

It'll likely be used on programs that are sustainable and will help people long-term, as opposed to paying off one-time expenses, Garza said.

It's not Scott's first substantial donation to a suburban organization. In 2021, she gave $18 million to Harper College in Palatine. It was the largest gift in school history.

The college used half the money to fund full, two-year scholarships for 1,000 students in financial need. It endowed the rest to generate investment earnings expected to pay for future initiatives that address basic student needs and help in other ways.

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At Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness, the door is open to everyone

MacKenzie Scott Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File
  Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness CEO Raul Garza, shown here last year, was shocked to learn of a $9 million donation to the organization. Paul Valade/, 2022
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