MacKenzie Scott awards $4.1 billion for COVID-19 relief, racial equity

MacKenzie Scott awards $4.1 billion for COVID-19 relief, racial equity

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced a round of grants totaling more than $4.15 billion in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

Scott, who announced an initial round of grants totaling $1.67 billion to a hundred and sixteen organizations in July, wrote in a blog post that she had consulted with a team of advisors on the best way to provide support for people impacted by the economic fallout of the public health emergency. Grants in this round were awarded to three hundred and eighty-four organizations in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with a focus on historically marginalized and underserved communities. 

Recipients include the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's COVID-19 Response Fund, the Global Fund for WomenGrantmakers Concerned With Immigrants and Refugees' California Immigrant Resilience FundHispanics in Philanthropy ($15 million), Lambda LegalMorgan State University ($40 million), Mount Saint Mary's University ($15 million), the Ms. Foundation for Women, the NAACP, Prairie View A&M University ($50 million), the Reinvestment FundRIP Medical Debt ($50 million), and the national offices and/or local affiliates of Easterseals, Feeding America, Goodwill Industries ($20 million), Meals on Wheels America, the United Way, and YMCA of the USA.

In her post, Scott, who signed the Giving Pledge in 2019, emphasized the due diligence her team conducted on recipient organizations and called on others to provide nonprofits with unrestricted support. "[We] took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital," she wrote. "We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached....Not only are [nonprofits] chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fundraising, and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them."

"Though I'm far from completing my pledge," Scott added, "this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic."

For a complete list of grant recipients, see the blog post.

MacKenzie Scott. "384 ways to help." MacKenzie Scott blog post 12/15/2020. "Goodwill receives largest investment in 118-year history to help Americans get back to work." Goodwill Industries press release 12/15/2020. "RIP Medical Debt receives transformative gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott." RIP Medical Debt press release 12/15/2020. "Mackenzie Scott gifts $15M to Hispanics in Philanthropy." Hispanics in Philanthropy press release 12/15/2020. "Morgan State University receives historic gift of $40M from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott." Morgan State University press release 12/15/2020. "A gift to PVAMU: Donor announces $50 million gift to Prairie View A&M University." Prairie View A&M University press release 12/15/2020. "MSMU receives $15 million grant." Mount Saint Mary's University press release 12/15/2020.