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MacKenzie Scott Makes Impactful $30 million Gift to Undue Medical Debt, For a Second Time

Half of the $30 million grant will immediately be available as seed money for a national 1:1 match for businesses interested in abolishing up to $3 billion in burdensome medical debt

Queens, NY – Wednesday, Nov 16, 2022 – Undue Medical Debt (RIP) is grateful to announce another gift, in the amount of $30 million, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott after she donated $50 million to the nonprofit in 2020. 

These funds will immediately be activated to match donations from businesses (1:1) for any commitments by the end of Q1, 2023. For community minded enterprises, Undue ’s proprietary model of localized medical debt abolishment for families in financial need is available, with the added benefit of matching funds, up to $15 million, from this latest Scott gift. Undue purchases unpayable medical debts in large, bundled portfolios for a fraction of their face value; on average one dollar donated abolishes $100 of medical debt. These matched funds, up to $30 million total, could therefore abolish $3 billion of burdensome medical debt across the nation. 

While Undue ’s largest share of donations come from grassroots and individual donors, the business community and corporate donors have been great allies and this match seeks to empower more organizations to make significant, positive change. WeTransfer and Headspace teamed up to abolish $30 million of medical debt in Los Angeles. And just last year Nomi Health erased an astounding $225 million of medical debt in collaboration with Undue . 

Medical debt is a financial and emotional burden on those who simply got sick or were in an accident. It depresses one’s credit score, undermines physical and mental wellbeing and makes it harder for families to make ends meet. As winter approaches (with a possible recession looming) companies can affirm their commitment to health equity and remove a substantial economic hurdle faced by families by taking advantage of Undue ’s match. To date the nonprofit has abolished over $7 billion worth of medical debt for over 4 million people

While larger policy solutions are needed, families cannot wait. Through Undue , companies can be proactive actors and help resolve the medical debt crisis for thousands of families today. Interested?

Contact: corporateMatch@unduemedicaldebt.org

“I’m exceedingly grateful to Ms. Scott for trusting us, again, with this transformative gift,” shares Undue Medical Debt CEO & President Allison Sesso. “These funds will be used to further expand our ability to abolish medical debt and make our proprietary systems faster and even more efficient. Most importantly, this donation will directly aid the nearly one third of Americans (and growing) who are burdened by medical debt and will further our goals of removing the stigma associated with these debts of necessity while centering the voices of real debtors to inform systemic policy solutions. We hope this corporate match opportunity will help bring likeminded businesses to the table, demonstrating wide-ranging support for this massive problem.”

Medical debt continues to be a growing crisis in the United States. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that there is at least $195 billion worth of medical debt (despite over 90% of Americans being insured) and Kaiser Health News estimates there are 100 million Americans with medical debt. Medical debt is also undeniably an equity issue, with Black and Hispanic adults respectively 50% and 35% more likely to have medical debt compared to white adults. 

Additionally, these funds will be used by Undue Medical to: further invest in digital infrastructure to support medical debt abolishment; expand staffing capacity to not only abolish debts but also strengthen efforts to address the upstream causes of medical debt; increase engagement with recipients of relief to lift up their voices and support the nonprofit’s capacity to analyze qualitative data to inform practical solutions.

Undue leveraged Ms. Scott’s previous gift to hire an anthropologist to interface with constituents and track thematic trends in the stories of medical debtors, pilot community-based collaborations with established local partners to source qualifying medical debt and create lasting policy change.  

A recent recipient of debt abolishment shares: 

“Keep doing what you are doing because you bring joy during these depressing times where everyone is struggling to put food on the table. I can testify that you brought great joy to me personally by taking away my debt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Sharon, FL

RIP’s debt abolishment is source driven, based on available, qualifying medical debt (belonging to those 4 times or below the federal poverty level or whose debt is 5% or more of their annual income). 

This donation will have a profound impact on Undue ’s ability to meet its mission, but the enormity of the medical crisis means there’s a long way to go in eliminating the billions of dollars in unpayable debt and fixing its upstream causes. 

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Undue Medical Debt (RIP) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors. To date Undue has acquired — and abolished — over $7 billion of burdensome medical debt, helping over 4 million families and addressing a major social determinant of health. Undue purchases debts for a fraction of their face value in bundled portfolios and partners with individuals, faith-based organizations, government, foundations and corporations to empower donors by converting every dollar contributed into $100 of medical debt relief on average.   

Undue also partners with hospitals and health systems and physician groups to acquire medical debt for abolishment. Undue rose to national prominence on an episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver in which Undue facilitated the abolishment of $15M in medical debt.   

To learn more, visit: https://unduemedicaldebt.org