Inside Stories

CBA Wins $1-Million Award

LOWELL – Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving ( platform announced today that Coalition for a Better Acre has received a $1 million Open Call award.

CBA is among only 361organizations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to receive this award, intended for organizations working with people and in places experiencing the greatest need in the United States.

A total of 6,353 organizations applied to the Open Call, managed by Lever for Change, which “connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s problems.” Eligible organizations had annual budgets of between $1million and $5 million.

Founded in 1982 to preserve and uplift Lowell’s Acre neighborhood, CBA is a member-driven, nonprofit community development corporation that provides 556 units of affordable housing and a range of free programs created in response to needs expressed by community members, including workforce development, leadership and civic engagement, health access, a food pantry, and community building events.

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.

“We are a bit over the moon right now,” said Yun-Ju Choi, CEO of CBA. “You could probably hear us clapping and shouting all the way down Moody Street when we learned of the award.” She added, “We went into this thinking it was a big leap, because we knew how competitive it would be. But, true to our nature, we decided to go for it.”

CBA CEO Yun-Ju Choi

Choi said CBA is seeking input from staff and Board Members as it finalizes its spending plan. “This is an incredible windfall,” she said. “We are being very intentional in ensuring it will have long-term, positive impact for CBA and for our community.”

Yield Giving 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 relevant experience and underwent a final round of due diligence.

Citing 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.

“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

4 responses to “CBA Wins $1-Million Award”

  1. Thomas Thornton says:

    I hope Ms Choi has a strong enough character to make sure the windfall doesn’t get squandered on nonsense.

    There are a few winning causes in Lowell but they’re far outnumbered by the losing causes.

  2. Thomas, rest assured we are working on a plan that will have huge impact, leverage funds, and create a lasting benefit for our community. Stay tuned for updates.

  3. Ellen Andre says:

    Such an amazing gift! Congratulations to CBA.

  4. Paul Early says:

    Congratulations! You all at CBA do a great job. Thank you so very much for what you do. I am glad that Ms Scott or her organization were wise enough to grant you all this.

    I have confidence in you and your model. Please, keep up the good work. As we say in Latin Land: si valetis, valeo. (If you all are well, I am well)

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