Mackenzie Scott donates $640 million to nonprofits

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Billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she is giving $640 million to 361 small nonprofits that responded to an open call for applications.

YieldGiving’s first round of donations more than double What Scott initially promised to deliver through the application process. since he Started giving billions of dollars in 2019Scott and his team research and select organizations with no application process and award them large, unrestricted gifts.

one in brief note On his website, Scott wrote that he was grateful to Lever for Change, the organization that managed the open call, and the evaluators “for their role in creating this pathway to support people working to improve access to basic resources in their communities.” Grateful for. They are important agents of change.”

Elisha Smith Arrillaga, vice president of The Center for Effective Philanthropy, said the increase in both the prize money and the number of organizations selected is “a pleasant surprise.” She is interested in learning more about applicants’ experience with this process and whether Scott will continue to use this process going forward.

Some 6,353 nonprofit organizations $1 million in grants were applied for when applications opened.

“The donor team decided to expand the prize winner pool and prize money,” said Lever for Change, which specializes in running philanthropic prize awards.

The 279 nonprofits that received top marks from the external review panel were awarded $2 million, while the 82 second-tier organizations received $1 million each.

Renee Karibi-White, senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, said competitions like Scott’s open call can help organizations that don’t have a relationship with a specific funder get considered.

“One of the best things about awards philanthropy is that it brings out people and organizations and institutions that otherwise wouldn’t have access to people and funding from the centers of power,” he said. His organization also advises funders who run competitive grants or philanthropic awards competitions to phase in applications to reduce the burden on any organization that is eliminated early.

The open call sought applications from nonprofits whose mission is to lead the community “to advance the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of low or modest means,” Yield Giving said on its website. Only nonprofit organizations with an annual budget between $1 and $5 million were eligible to apply.

“In a world teeming with potential and talent, the Open Call has given us the opportunity to identify, uplift and empower transformational organizations that often go undiscovered,” Cecilia Conrad, CEO of Lever for Change, said in a statement.

Award winners were selected through a multi-tiered process where applicants evaluated fellow applicants and the top organizations were then reviewed by a panel of external experts.

Scott has donated $16.5 billion of her wealth to charity after divorcing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Initially, they promoted the giveaways in online blog posts, sometimes naming the organizations and sometimes not. he launched a his giving database In December 2022, under the name Yield Giving.

in one The essay is being reflected on the website, she wrote, “Information from other people — other givers, my team, the nonprofit teams I’m giving to — has been very helpful to me. If more information about these gifts might be useful to someone, I’d like to share it.

CEP’s Smith Arrillaga said it is important that Scott, “continues to honor her commitment in terms of giving away her wealth, even as she is thinking, changing and making changes in how to do it.” She’s still trying to move forward with the spirit of what she did.”


Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits is supported through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, go here,

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