Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is awarding billions to organizations across the country, including three Minnesota nonprofits.
Scott, who divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, and her husband Dan Jewett have now given away more than $8 billion in three different rounds of donations since they pledged to give away the majority of their money. Scott's net worth is estimated to be nearly $60 billion following her divorce, NPR says.
She made the announcement about the most recent donations, in which she'll give $2.7 billion to 286 nonprofits, with a blog post on Medium on Tuesday. Scott wrote the organizations are "high-impact" in "categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked."
The three Minnesota-based organizations to receive "unrestricted" grants (meaning the nonprofits can use the money any way they choose, no strings attached) are:
— Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, a 44-year-old legacy Black arts organization with a mission to nurture Black artists, promote racial equity and inspire creative resiliency, according to the organization's website.
— Arts Midwest, based in Minneapolis, with a mission to promote creativity, nurture cultural leadership, engage people in meaningful arts experiences and bring vitality to communities in the Midwest while enriching people's lives, the website states.
— Borealis Philanthropy, a national organization based in Minneapolis, which funds organizations that work on various issues, including disability, transgender justice and racial equity.
It's not clear how much money each organization received — Scott said they chose to make "relatively large gifts" to the organizations — but those that have commented say they're grateful for the support.
While donating part of her fortune, Scott has called for greater action to tackle income inequality, saying: "In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others."
“As a former community organizer and grassroots advocacy leader, and now as the head of a social justice intermediary, I know the power of donors willing to make big investments for social change,” Borealis Philanthropy President Amoretta Morris said in a statement.
"This gift recognizes that boldly giving to communities is possible, and necessary. On behalf of Borealis staff and board, I am grateful that MacKenzie Scott recognizes Borealis as a home for donors who want to invest in a new future for our movements and our communities.”
Torrie Allen, president and CEO of Arts Midwest, told the Pioneer Press it would reveal how much Scott donated to the organization "at a later date," but noted they're "honored and humbled to receive this support."
Scott wrote "community-centered service" is a "powerful catalyst and multiplier," she, Jewett and a team of researchers and advisors spent the start of 2021 "identifying and evaluating equity-oriented nonprofit teams working in areas that have been neglected," landing on the 286 organizations.
You can find a list of all the organizations receiving an unspecified piece of the $2.7 billion here.