It wasn't a crank call: Surprising many, MacKenzie Scott gives millions to California groups

It wasn't a crank call: Surprising many, MacKenzie Scott gives millions to California groups

6/16/2021 3:33:00 PM

It wasn't a crank call: Surprising many, MacKenzie Scott gives millions to California groups

MacKenzie Scott announced donations of $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. More than three dozen of the recipients in Scott's latest round of giving are California community colleges and universities, arts groups and nonprofits that work for social justice.

Stacy Palmer, editor of theChronicle of Philanthropy,said Scott favors smaller organizations that rarely get noticed by big donors and seeks to fund organizations headed by those they serve, including women and people of color. The effect has been a transformational model of giving that most nonprofits hope other donors follow, she said.

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“It’s extraordinary and very different than other billionaires, who tend to give to well-known institutions,” Palmer said. “It’s just so striking that one of the world’s wealthiest women is giving to all of these groups that typically never hear from a millionaire, much less a billionaire.”

She added, however, that some have criticized Scott’s lack of transparency in how she chooses and vets her gift recipients. Unlike most foundations, Scott does not have an application process but the calls to develop one and operate more openly are “very high,” Palmer said.

Not that the recipients are complaining. In statement after statement, many of them echoed the same refrain: This is their largest-ever donation that will allow them to make major leaps in advancing their work.Advertisement“I don’t think I even could speak when I first got the news,” Dunning said of the record-breaking donation. “What I appreciate about their approach in this work is how they really believe in the leaders and the organizations they’re choosing to support. It’s a large gift with very few restrictions so we can really focus our time, energy and money on doing the work that we need to do.”

“These are not the organizations that have privilege, or generations of wealth behind them,” said Burroughs, president and chief executive of the Japanese American museum. “What I found really encouraging was the number of [Asian and Pacific Islander] organizations on that list. Traditionally, API organizations get less than 1% of philanthropic funding.”

The museum, Burroughs said, received a “game changing” $10-million donation — a gift that she said will help fund plans to “reimagine” its main exhibit.The donations are also a boon to public universities and colleges struggling with enormous financial losses triggered by the pandemic; at least $285 million of Scott’s donation went to 12 community colleges and universities in California.

AdvertisementUC Merced received $20 million; Pasadena and Long Beach City Colleges each received $30 million; Santa Barbara City College, $20 million; Chaffey College, $25 million; Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Fullerton each received $40 million; Cal State Channel Islands, $15 million; Porterville College, $7 million; College of the Desert, $18 million; and West Hills College Lemoore also received a donation.

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At Long Beach City College, Muñoz said plans for the funds are still being hashed out but will focus on addressing racial equity gaps and improving support for the college’s most vulnerable students, including formerly incarcerated students, “Dreamers,” foster youth and those struggling with access to food and housing.

The college, which serves a student body comprised of 54% Latino students and 14% Black students, has worked to improve equity and address structural racism for years, especially ramping up efforts in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.“I think a gift like this is really validating,” Muñoz said. “When you think of the faculty and staff that have been doing equity work on our campus for decades, sometimes they feel invisible.”

AdvertisementCal Poly Pomona plans to invest in an endowment fund and programs to help students graduate and eliminate equity gaps on campus, said Daniel Montplaisir, vice president for university advancement. About half of Pomona’s nearly 28,000 students are Latino and the first in their families to attend college.

UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz has a long list of ideas for how to spend what he called an “astounding” $20-million gift: faculty research support, academic enrichment programs, student services, community engagement, curriculum innovation. He also said the money could lay a cornerstone for potentially the first-ever fundraising campaign at Merced, the smallest and youngest of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses, where more than 60% of students are underrepresented minorities, low income and the first in their families to attend college.

“It really gives us a tremendous catalyst opportunity emerging from the pandemic ... that will allow us to assist our faculty, staff and students,” he said.Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga serves nearly 23,000, with Latino students accounting for roughly 86% of the student body — many who are first-generation college students.

Advertisement“Chaffey College plans to use the gift to support students who are the first in their families to go to college, students of color and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Funding will also support basic needs programs,” the college said.

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Scott’s donation to Faith in Action will allow the organization to strengthen its national network, which currently spans 125 cities. Advancing its work on immigration and racial and economic justice would be its “North Star” in deciding where to allocate the funds, the Rev. Alvin Herring said.

“California is a microcosm for the entire country,” he said. “Immigration is a critical issue and we’ve been working hard to fight back against the efforts of making it hard for people to vote. We will make a greater impact because of gifts like this.”

Palmer, the Chronicle of Philanthropy editor, noted that her publication’s reporting on Scott’s gifts has found that her model of giving to networks that then share the funds with its members has a powerful multiplier effect.AdvertisementHomeboy Industries, which served 9,000 people last year, will use the $20-million gift to develop more housing for program participants, create quality jobs and establish an operating reserve.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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MacKenzie Scott Donates $2.7 Billion, Says Social Progress Groups ‘Deserve Center Stage’'We are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands,' the billionaire said. She’s my hero. I would be devastated if SHE was lost in space.

MacKenzie Scott is giving away another $2.74 billionMacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett donated $2.74 billion to organizations that focus on the arts and combating racial discrimination. The settlement from Scott's 2019 divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made her one of the world's richest people. Kindly hit the follow button 🔘🔘🔘 247_pills I promise to follow back You can unfollow me if you don't get a follow back within 60 seconds Try me and see ✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅ No Cap 🧢🧢🧢 Why does she look like Jeff Bezos? Giving a large amount of money to the arts like that is not necessary. They'll get plenty of money from other rich people. A large chunk of that money could went to more social programs to help folks

MacKenzie Scott donates $2.7B, cites fortune 'enabled by systems in need of change'MacKenzie Scott, billionaire philanthropist and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, donates $2.7 billion to charity, citing fortune ‘enabled by systems in need of change’ Lady if got 50 G you wanna donate that alone would help too reach my American dream are half that I'm not greedy For all those who are new to this working from home Bitcoin trading options Here's a little tip: Get a trusted Bitcoin expert and stick to him GeorgeLinf32 Invest and play at similar times each day. Because : In times of chaos, your investment is your anchor to success⚖️ Kind. So giving. Thank you

MacKenzie Scott donates $2.7 billion, blasts wealth gapMacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist and Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, gives $2.7 billion to a variety of charities — $8.5 billion since July 2020. Hear me out, what if she, and other billionaies, were taxed heavily instead of donations write-offs? Good for her, especially the seeming randomness of her choices. Ignore those who are trying to put rails around her giving. Amazon is my design thinking. Should pay me. If paying to repeaters thru some tricky ways, that is corruption

MacKenzie Scott gives $2.7 billion to ‘historically overlooked’ groups — and asks to be left out of the storyScott, worth an estimated $59.7 billion, has donated nearly $9 billion since her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Congrats you did exactly the opposite of what she requested.