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MacKenzie Scott donates $640 million after open call for nonprofits

MacKenzie Scott
New York CNNPhilanthropist MacKenzie Scott is giving away $640 million to 361 nonprofits, her organization — Yield Giving — and Lever for Change announced Tuesday, after an open call for applicants.

More than 6,000 nonprofit organizations had applied for the funding. Scott ended up giving more than double what the original open call planned for, which was 250 awards of $1 million each, according to Lever for Change, the organization that managed the open call.

“In light of the incredible work of these organizations, as judged by their peers and external panelists, the donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount,” according to Lever for Change.

Scott’s giving strategy differs from her ex-husband Jeff Bezos, who she helped with in building Amazon. While Bezos and his fiancée Lauren Sánchez announced a large, splashy $50 million donation each to actress Eva Longoria and retired Admiral Bull McRaven, Scott breaks up her huge sums of philanthropy to hundreds of smaller organizations.

The gifts are transformative for many recipients. Gender Justice, an organization that aims to advance gender equality, said it received a $2 million donation, the largest one-time gift in its history.

“This Open Call award helps us take our fight for justice and equity to the next level, continuing our work to dismantle the legal, structural, and cultural barriers that contribute to gender inequity,” said Megan Peterson, Gender Justice’s executive director, in a statement.

To move forward in the prize, organizations had to be rated by their peers. In fall 2023, the top-rated applicants advanced to a second-round interview with an external panel, and then underwent a final round, Lever for Change said. The 279 organizations that were in the top tier of scores received $2 million each, and 82 organizations in the next tier received $1 million each.

Scott’s organization, Yield Giving, maintains a database of donation amounts for the organizations and nonprofits to which it contributes.

Scott last December announced $2.15 billion in donations over the last year on Yield Giving.

In 2022, Scott said her team had donated more than $3.8 billion to 465 organizations over the course of nine months. She’s gifted $436 million to Habitat for Humanity and $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA, its largest ever donation from a single individual.

Scott holds a fortune of $36.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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