MacKenzie Scott has given nearly $12.7 billion in charitable donations since 2020, including 11 donations totaling $303.4 million that have been made public since early April, according to a the Chronicle pointing.
Scott’s largest donation announced since April went to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The national youth mentoring charity received $122.6 million from Scott and is using the unrestricted donation to support programs at its national office in Tampa and 38 of its 230 chapters across the United States. .
Unlike the past two years, Scott has not announced a round of giving this summer as she has done every summer and December since she began officially disclosing her charitable giving in 2020. She also did not name the charities she has supported.
Instead of posting a given total amount over the past few months or listing the nonprofits she has donated to, Scott leaves it to the charities to decide whether or not to post the gifts they receive. from her. This has made it harder for the public to understand which nonprofits have benefited from her generosity and which causes she now supports.
There are pros and cons to Scott’s latest approach. By leaving it up to charities, it gives them the power to decide whether they want to attract public attention. Still, to many observers, the move feels like a step back from the transparency she seemed committed to when she started donating large sums to charity.
A researcher thinks Scott’s change in approach could be a policy decision to limit the influence of his gifts.
“The more she is transparent up front about the criteria on which she chooses certain organizations over others for funding, the more the whole sector has really powerful incentives to align with her priorities and judgments on what that counts as a good job,” says Emma. Saunders-Hastings, a political theorist who studies the role of private power and wrote the book Private Virtues, Public Vices: Philanthropy and Democratic Equality.
Saunders-Hastings says Scott’s reluctance to be fully transparent, leaving it up to charities to decide what to disclose, may be linked to his concerns that wealthy donors have too much influence on social change, whatever something Scott wrote about in some of his Medium posts.
“The more explicit she is about the factors that will get you a MacKenzie Scott giveaway, the more her voice shapes the priorities of organizations in the industry, whether or not they are ultimately chosen for a giveaway,” Saunders-Hastings said. .
She sees Scott as someone who tries to think in complicated ways about how to give a lot of money without exercising “undesirable kinds of power” over the people she tries to support. “It’s very different from some of the other giving approaches that have gotten a lot of attention in recent years,” Saunders-Hastings says.
Scott recognized the problems with his various approaches and wrote in a blog post late last year that she planned to release more information about her giveaways over the next year and create a website and searchable database of all her giveaways.
A few departures
A the Chronicle tally revealed that 11 charities have announced donations from Scott since April 1. These donations total $303.4 million.
This latest fundraiser follows the series of donations announced by Scott in March. This announcement included contributions dating back to December 2021. So far, the the Chronicle confirmed the size of 301 of the at least 1,268 donations Scott has made since 2020.
After the Big Brothers Big Sisters donation, Scott’s largest announced donation since April was announced in early August, $55 million to the California Community Foundation, and was a departure for Scott in many ways. This gift was neither unlimited nor a first gift, which the majority of his gifts are. Last year, she donated $20 million to the nonprofit to establish the LA Arts Endowment Fund, which supports various small to medium-sized arts organizations in Los Angeles.
In another change, the latest giveaway came in the form of real estate. She donated two Beverly Hills homes, which together are valued at around $55 million, to support affordable housing and immigration programs in the Los Angeles area. Scott ordered the organization’s officials to sell the two houses. After one of his advisors had four or five conversations with Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the community foundation, Scott and Hernández’s team decided to use 90% of the proceeds to permanently endow the grant. of the foundation to help low-income people in Los Angeles find affordable housing there.
Scott said the nonprofit could use the remaining 10% for any purpose. Hernández decided to direct this portion towards the foundation’s work to help immigrants through the costly and arduous process of becoming American citizens and involve them in the civic life of their communities.
The community foundation has received many donations of homes, land, and even a vineyard over the years. Hernández says she thinks the organization’s history of receiving such donations is part of why Scott and his team were confident the foundation had the organizational expertise and infrastructure to handle a donation. of two multi-million dollar homes.
“We established a history of how to accept real estate gifts, then how to sell them and use the proceeds,” Hernández says. “They apparently did their due diligence and learned that we were experts.”
While Scott’s two donations to the community foundation were for specific programs, Hernández says what impressed her most in her conversations with Scott’s representatives was their willingness to listen to her suggestions on where to go. the money would be most helpful in the areas Scott wanted to support.
“What stood out to me in my conversations with them was their openness to listening and their thoughtful approach,” says Hernández. “I didn’t feel like it was being dictated to me.”
Scott followed up his donation from the California Community Foundation with a $38.8 million donation a week or two later to Junior Achievement USA, his third largest donation since April. The donation is unlimited and will support the youth development organization’s national office and 26 of its branches nationwide. The nonprofit organization provides financial literacy, job skills, and business ownership education programs for students from kindergarten through high school.
Other nonprofits that have announced donations from Scott since April are:
- Noora Healthwhich provides training and other resources for family members caring for loved ones, received $20 million from Scott.
- Learning Policy Institutean education policy research organization, received $16 million.
- Foundation of the tower tunnelwhich helps first responders, as well as US service members and their families, received $15 million.
- Urban Alliancea manpower training group, received $10 million.
- Health officialsa charity that connects vulnerable people of color to social services, received $8 million.
- Rising eartha human services group, received $8 million.
- North Carolina Children’s Homes Societya non-profit placement and adoption organization, received $8 million.
- CUNY Graduate Center received $2 million.
To learn more about Scott’s announced donations, and to learn about other major donations from many other donors, see the Chronicle of philanthropys regularly updated database of donations of $1 million or more.