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Amazon billionaire MacKenzie Scott donates billions of USD to 384 organizations

December 16, 2020 | 08:37

MacKenzie Scott announced on Tuesday her second major charitable contribution of the year, giving away nearly $4.2 billion to 384 organizations as part of a plan to donate a majority of her fortune.

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MacKenzie scott (photo: bloomberg)
MacKenzie Scott (Photo: Bloomberg)

The donation

The announcement comes just four months after Scott donated $1.7 billion to 116 organizations, including four historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), in July. The latest round of philanthropic gifts total more than $4.16 billion donated by Scott to organizations nationwide in the past four months, according to CNN.

"The pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling," Scott wrote in a Medium post. "Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires."

Scott's post included a list of the hundreds of organizations that received funds, including financial service providers for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved individuals, civil rights advocacy groups and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.

Scott, who is a philanthropist and author as well as the ex-wife of Amazon (AMZN)founder Jeff Bezos, noted that her team examined more than 6,490 organizations to determine which groups would receive the donations following her decision to accelerate the pace of her giving this year.

Amazon billionaire MacKenzie Scott donates billions of USD to 384 organizations
(Photo: Yahoo Finance)

Part of the donation goes to two universities

As reported by TexasTribune, two Texas A&M System universities that predominantly serve students of color have received multimillion-dollar donations from writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black university, received a $50 million donation, and Texas A&M International University in Laredo, which is a primary Hispanic-service university, received $40 million. Both gifts are the largest in each university’s history.

The universities can use the money for whatever they like. At Prairie View, a historically Black university, school leaders have chosen to allocate $10 million to juniors and seniors who had dealt with financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rest of the money will go toward other university initiatives, including faculty development and recruiting, academic improvements and scholarships.

This is a historic gift for Prairie View, coming at a time when the University had already decided and begun to invest heavily in key areas to strengthen its academic programs and improve student success,” President Ruth Simmons said in a statement. “The timing of this gift could therefore not be better.”

MacKenzie bezos with then-husband jeff in berlin april 2018 (photo: vox)
MacKenzie Bezos with then-husband Jeff Bezos in Berlin in April 2018 (Photo: VOX)

YMCA Receives Major Donation from MacKenzie Scott

"We are incredibly grateful to MacKenzie Scott for her generous gifts made to 43 YMCA associations and YMCA of the USA," said Kevin Washington, president and CEO, YMCA of the USA. "Ms. Scott's gifts are a testament to the trust Ys have earned by meeting pressing social needs in the communities the Y serves across the country. These unrestricted funds are especially important to the work of Ys to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic."

Like many nonprofits, Ys large and small across the country are facing financial hardships in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. With all facilities closed for the greater part of two to three months last spring, limited operation of summer camps, hesitation by members to return to wellness facilities, and mandated shutdowns as COVID numbers rise again, the Y has seen billions in lost revenue since March and has been faced with devastating decisions regarding furloughs, layoffs and even permanent facility closures, PR News reported.

Right now, Ys are working to meet the needs of their communities by providing child care to first responders and essential workers, feeding children and families, housing at-risk populations, visiting seniors facing social isolation and supporting children with virtual learning, among many other traditional and emergency services.

"Ms. Scott's generous gifts will help ensure this work is able to continue in many of the communities we serve, now and as we rebuild from the COVID crisis. We hope, as Ms. Scott does, her generosity is a catalyst for additional public and private support for the work of the Y and other community-serving organizations," Washington said.

Amazon billionaire MacKenzie Scott donates billions of USD to 384 organizations
(Photo: CNN)

Other organizations on the list included the local chapters of Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, YMCA and United Way; the NAACP; Global Fund for Women; and ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs), which provides affordable loans to underserved small businesses.

"We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached," Scott said in the post. "Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft."

Scott is the world's 18th-richest person with a net worth of $60.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Her's is a fortune that has soared as Amazon's (AMZN) stock has surged in the pandemic. Scott received a quarter of Bezos' Amazon shares following their 2019 divorce.

Last year, Scott committed to the Giving Pledge initiative. Launched by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, the program encourages the world's richest people to donate a large portion of their fortunes to charitable causes.

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