Nonprofits are disclosing $ 180 million in recent Mackenzie Scott donations

Mackenzie Scott, who has donated at least $ 8 billion over the past two years to mostly small nonprofits that serve people in need, has published reports on Medium about her gifts and who received them. Then Scott stopped calling names. In December, she announced that more attention should be paid to nonprofits.

“I want each of these incredible teams to speak for themselves first,” she wrote, prompting some charity experts to suggest that her approach contributed to a lack of transparency in charity.

Over the past month, half a dozen nonprofits have begun disclosing donations they received from Scott to her latest round of donations, and they have once again demonstrated that Scott gives back to things many of the super-rich usually avoid, including suicide and drug organizations. . drug addiction.

Scott’s biggest new gift to be uncovered was $ 133.5 million for the Community in Schools, which provides services to schools in low-income areas.

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This was followed by donations of $ 15 million apiece to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights, and the Jedi Foundation, which seeks to prevent suicide among young people.

The National Council on Aging has announced it has received $ 8 million.

And two groups that help people fight addiction and addiction also said they received large sums: Shatterproof received $ 5 million and Young People in Recovery $ 3 million.

Some of the leaders of these nonprofits, who received a total of $ 179.5 million, told the Chronicles of Philanthropy how they learned about the gift, how they decided to go public and where they would use the money.

Anne Herbst, executive director of Young People in Recovery, compared Scott’s verification process to the 1999 film Fight Club.

“And the only rule about the Fight Club is that you can’t talk about the Fight Club,” Herbst was quoted as saying.

Herbst says she was contacted in the fall by a team that called itself only an anonymous donor. They wanted to know more about Young People in Recovery, which had a budget of $ 2.5 million before a $ 3 million gift from Scott. The donation is the largest of the nonprofits.

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Herbst says she had similar conversations with major donors that did not lead to funding, so she did not live up to her expectations.

“It’s not an area where people give money to have their names on hospital buildings or outbuildings,” Herbst said. “It speaks to the stigma that still exists in this space.”

When Herbst learned in January about the size of the gift and that it came from Scott, she was shocked.

“It would never have occurred to me that we were talking about Mackenzie Scott or that we were talking about a seven-figure gift,” she said.

Young People in Recovery uses this gift to buy new technology for its employees and provide bilingual materials, as well as hold more diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility to reach a wider audience.

Ramsey Alvin, director general of the National Council on Aging, called working with Scott’s team a “fascinating process” that requires confidentiality.

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Alvin was first told that the council is being scrutinized by a philanthropist who wants to invest in racial justice and health justice. Scott’s team explored the organization’s social impact, vision and leadership. Among the materials they probably saw was the “Promise of Justice,” which sets out its commitment to ensuring that colored people, low-income Americans, and rural residents can receive the services they need to improve their quality of life as they grow. older.

The whole process, Alvin said, took about six months. When Scott was shown as a benefactor and $ 8 million went to the board’s account at GivingTuesday, Nov. 30, her “eyes popped out,” she said. It was a record – the largest unlimited gift in the 72-year history of the organization.

It seemed too good to be true. But after talking to people working in other organizations that received funding from Scott, Alvin said it was more plausible.

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The donation was a much-needed boost during the pandemic and racial settlement, Alvin said.

“This is rocket fuel that will help us really, really take our work to the next level to reach more people, to advocate for bolder policy changes so that everyone can age well,” she said.

About 80% of the council’s budget comes from federal funding. Prior to Scott’s contribution, his largest private donations ranged from $ 300,000 to $ 500,000.

Over the next two to three months, the Aging Council plans how to use these funds in its efforts to improve the lives of 40 million adults by 2030.

Communities in schools that received $ 133.5 million from Scott provide services to schools in low-income areas. Ray Saldanha, CEO, said the group decided to publish its $ 133.5 million gift because it confirmed its work and showed what still needs to be done.

The National Office received $ 20 million, the rest was divided between 40 of its 110 branches. With a budget of $ 250 million, the nonprofit works in 2,900 schools in 110 cities and towns across the country to ensure that all students, regardless of race, location or socioeconomic status, have what they need to succeed.

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With Scott’s gift, the largest the group has ever received, Saldanha said, the organization plans to serve more students and establish an endowment.

He said he appreciates the unlimited gift from Scott because he suggests that donors can trust recipients to make the right decision on how to use charitable donations.

“It’s really a breath of fresh air for all nonprofits, especially for those who have been doing this work as much as we have, for four decades,” he said of the unlimited gifts. “For us, it’s an incredible way to think about a new era of gaining support as a nonprofit.”

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This article was provided by in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Kristen Griffith is a full-time writer at the Chronicle. Email: kristen.griffith@philanthropy.com. AP and Chronicle receive support from Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. AP and Chronicle are solely responsible for all content. To learn about all AP charity coverage, visit /hub/philanthropy.

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