MacKenzie Scott recognizes an additional $ 2 billion in donations

NEW YORK (AP) – Megadonist and writer MacKenzie Scott announced on Monday nearly $ 2 billion in donations to 343 organizations in a short blog post, highlighting her interest in supporting people from disadvantaged communities.

In his first post in nearly eight months, Scott showed his donations to numerous funds as a “great resource” for giving. “They collect donations and distribute them to a diverse group of smaller organizations working for a common cause,” she wrote. “The funds we have chosen are looking for teams with lived experience in the problems they are facing.”

Scott also reiterated the promise he first made in December last year to publish a database of the organizations he donated to.

Its new list of donations includes several previously announced donations, including $ 85 million to Girl Scouts of the USA last month, $ 39 million to Junior Achievement USA in August, and $ 123 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in May. In Monday’s post, however, the donation amounts were not listed.

Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, said Scott’s recent gifts continue to show how well avoiding the traditional “top-down, giver knows best” philanthropic style can work.

Scott’s focus on mutual fund donations allows her to support smaller organizations that do good work in specific areas.

“If you are looking to reach a very small organization in a particular community and are a larger donor, it is wise to find an intermediary,” said Buchanan, whose organization plans to publish a research report on the impact of Scott’s donations from the summer of 2020 to the summer of 2021.

The Center for Effective Philanthropy studied tens of thousands of donations over that time frame and found that the median grant was $ 100,000. Over the same period, Scott’s median grant was $ 8 million.

“That’s a whole other order of magnitude,” Buchanan said.

Ana Conner, co-director of the Third Wave Fund, which received a $ 3 million grant from Scott to support her work for youth-led gender justice, said the donation will help groups that “fall through cracks of philanthropy “.

“We are the bridge between those groups and the big donors and the big philanthropy,” Conner said. “By amplifying what the funds are doing, he’s making a big call to action for wealthy donors to see what funding community groups could be like.”

Lauren Janus, chief operating officer of the philanthropic consulting firm Phīla Giving, commended Scott for suggesting other donors to donate funds led by people with lived experience in the communities they work in.

“Philanthropy doesn’t have to be what it always has been. It doesn’t have to be these typically white men in these tall towers handing out gifts to the deserving and grateful nonprofits below them, “Janus said.” It can be a real partnership. And indeed, it can also be where there is a relationship where the financier is just some kind of helper, is supporting this amazing nonprofit organization and is really fading into the background. ”

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Scott achieved philanthropic fame in 2019 when she pledged to donate most of her wealth and then lost $ 5.8 billion in donations by the end of 2020.

The announcement on Monday brought the amount it said it had donated to around $ 14 billion to around 1,500 organizations.

Bezos said in an interview with CNN released Monday that he would give away most of his wealth in his life, though he didn’t specify how.

Forbes estimates Scott’s net worth is $ 29.5 billion, a figure that has been down from the peak of 2021.

As he has done in previous posts, Scott has expressed a desire to elevate the work of the organizations he supports while also trying to avoid the limelight. He reproduced a poem by Gwen Nell Westerman, a poet, visual artist and professor from Minnesota, who seems to speak in the voice of a person trying to repair an evil but who seems not to have tried to understand the evil done in the first place.

Entitled “Dakota Homecoming”, the poem ends with what Westerman said was a direct quote: “We want to write an apology letter, they said, ‘Tell us what to say’.”

Westerman said she was honored that Scott chose her poem as the inspiration for her work, adding that she believes many people will recognize the sentiment in the poem.

“Not having context or having any kind of similar lived experience and knowing that something needs to be done and then devoting all the work and effort to that marginalized group or oppressed group and saying, ‘Here to help us solve it,'” he said. affirmed he said.

Scott said Westerman’s poem, which her staff asked for permission to reproduce in advance, inspires her to stop talking every time she reads it.

“I had to shut down my laptop for a couple of days before writing this very short post,” wrote Scott.

Beyond the speed and scale of his donations, Scott’s approach to spending his money has also attracted the attention of other major nonprofit donors and beneficiaries: he employs a small team of consultants led by a company. consultancy and typically inform nonprofits of the largest donations they have ever received via a cold call or following an anonymous email. Gifts from him are unconditional and with very few reporting requirements.

Because he made these donations as an individual and not through a foundation, few public records exist other than announcements from the recipient organizations, not all of which disclosed the sums they received.

For the past three years, Scott hasn’t talked about his philanthropy other than through his blog posts, choosing not to respond to media inquiries.

“I think we can all do a good job at our levels and that we can be inspired by the generosity of others like Mackenzie Scott,” Westerman said.

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Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through AP’s partnership with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropic coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

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