Skip to Content

A happy surprise: Billionaire philanthropist’s $1.6 million gift helps propel La Pine Community Health Center’s expansion

(Update: adding video, comments from LCPC board member and marketing manager)

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $1.6 million to a major expansion of the La Pine Community Health Center, which provides accessible and affordable health care to residents of southern Deschutes County and parts of Lake and Klamath counties.

The unrestricted grant, provided through Yield Giving, an organization founded by the writer and philanthropist, has been designated by the LCHC board for use in expanding the La Pine campus to include a new Wellness Center building adjacent to its current facility. Ground was broken in August for the new three-story facility.

The Wellness Center will house a new dental clinic, imaging center, behavioral health services, administrative offices and a large community room for educational events and meetings.

In communications related to the major grant, La Pine Community Health Center’s CEO Erin Trapp learned that Scott and her team rigorously study the organizations that receive unsolicited and unexpected support.

“I was impressed with the depth of data they had about our organization and pleased that our Quality scores for patient care stood out to them as significant,” said Trapp. “We are so honored to receive this truly remarkable gift from MacKenzie Scott.”

CEO Trapp recalled the “surreal” moment in mid-September when she learned of Scott’s gift.

"It was a surprise," LCHC Marketing & Communications Manager Courtney Ignazzitto said Friday. "We did not have to apply for the grant. We did not have to do any sort of application process.”

“We were about to launch the public phase of a $5 million capital campaign to build our new Wellness Center when the call came," she said. "It was precisely the kind of boost we needed to kick-start the campaign. We know it will inspire our Central Oregon community and other philanthropic foundations to follow with their own support.”

"The donation came at a perfect time." said Ignazzitto.

Scott previously granted $1.4 million to the Central Oregon Chapter of Friends of the Children. This grant, received in August 2022, was also done in secrecy and completely unexpected. It was part of a $44 million gift to the national Friends of the Children organization.

Over 6,000 patients a year receive primary care at LCHC and through its various outreach programs. As a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving a largely rural, at-risk, high-poverty population, LCHC relies heavily on reimbursement from the Oregon Health Plan, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and a few grants to cover their $10 million annual operating budget.

Despite working within a lean budget, LCHC has been able to place funds in reserve that enable it to envision this expansive project, which will provide better health care access for the area’s growing population.

“The $1.6 million grant is now in the bank, and we’re focused on reaching our next milestone – raising 50 percent of our goal,” Trapp said. “I hope each person in our region will consider supporting our effort to provide high-quality, affordable health care with kindness, integrity and respect.”

LCHC Board Vice President Linda Bauman said, "Thank you, MacKenzie! Thank you for following through with this and checking us out and everything, because La Pine is a wonderful community."

The new Wellness Center is expected to open in 2025.

About MacKenzie Scott:

MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos), writer and philanthropist, is the author of the novels The Testing of Luther Albright, which won the American Book Award, and Traps. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied creative writing at Princeton with Toni Morrison. Scott has been executive director of Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying organization, since founding it in 2014.

From an essay written by MacKenzie Scott sourced from the Yield Giving website:

“We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”

Yield Giving, an organization founded by MacKenzie Scott to facilitate private gifts to nonprofit organizations, is named after a belief in adding value by giving up control.

Article Topic Follows: La Pine

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ news sources


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content