MacKenzie Scott announces more donations to colleges, higher ed groups

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

  • Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she donated to at least 31 colleges with students from “chronically underserved” communities as part of a $2.7 billion giving spree that included several higher education groups. Scott gave to 286 groups in all.
  • Scott, who gave hundreds of millions of dollars to colleges last year, did not disclose the donation amounts. However, some of the institutions said Tuesday the gifts were the single largest ones they’d ever received.
  • The colleges can spend the money however they choose, which is unusual for gifts of that size.

Dive Insight:

Scott pledged in 2019 to give away a majority of her fortune. He started fulfilling that promise with two massive rounds of donations to hundreds of organizations in July and December of 2020. She donated more than $800 million to colleges last year, with a large chunk of the money going to historically Black colleges and universities.

Many of the institutions said then that the donations were the single biggest ones in their history. And schools reported gifts Tuesday that were of a similar size. The money went to two- and four-year institutions.


The University of Central Florida said Scott’s $40 million donations, the school’s most significant single gift ever, would fund new student success programs and enable “groundbreaking” faculty research. The University of Texas at San Antonio, which also got $40 million, similarly cited a desire to use the funds to boost student success initiatives.

The University of Illinois Chicago will create a Student Success Fund with its $40 million gifts. The fund will support low-income and first-generation students, including ensuring they graduate on time and helping them find internships.

Long Beach City College, a community college in California, will use its $30 million donations to address racial equity gaps and improve student services for its most vulnerable populations. The gift is its most significant yet.

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