Since first promising in 2019 to give away her entire fortune, the billionaire MacKenzie Scott has handed out over $12 billion to nonprofits, per a tally of her publicly announced gifts since 2020. That enormous sum has vaulted her to the top ranks of philanthropists worldwide.
In her latest essay on the website Medium on Wednesday, Ms. Scott described an additional $3.9 billion in gifts to 465 nonprofits in just the last nine months, including funds dedicated to areas she had given to in the past, such as climate and education, as well as newly pressing needs, like Ukraine relief efforts.
“Our team’s focus over these last nine months has included some new areas, but as always our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds,” Ms. Scott wrote.
On Wednesday, Habitat for Humanity International announced that Ms. Scott had donated $436 million to the group and 84 affiliates. She also gave $275 million to Planned Parenthood’s national office and 21 affiliates around the country, which the group called the largest gift from a single donor in its history.
“At such a critical time for reproductive health and rights, this investment and expression of confidence in Planned Parenthood will help us to be as strong as we can be to meet the moment,” said Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and chairwoman of the affiliate council, in a statement on Wednesday.
All told, 1,257 organizations have received donations from Ms. Scott since 2020. Even the amounts she has given to smaller groups are often large by their standards, in many cases equal to an organization’s entire annual budget.
That was the case when Ms. Scott donated $15 million last week to Madre, an aid and human rights organization in New York that supports women’s groups around the world, according to the organization. “This is the single biggest grant we’ve ever received from a donor by orders of magnitude,” said Yifat Susskind, executive director of Madre.
Ms. Susskind celebrated what the gift can do for the people the organization serves — but also wanted to make sure smaller donors know they are valued, too. “We’re doing what we can to message to folks that it’s everybody’s faith in our work that brought us to the point where we can get on the radar of someone like MacKenzie Scott,” she said.
The announcement on Wednesday was a course reversal for Ms. Scott, who has grappled with the conflicting demands of her desire for privacy and her goal of publicizing the work done by the groups she is helping. Unlike foundations, which must file detailed, publicly available tax returns, Ms. Scott has given through the charitable vehicles known as donor-advised funds, which do not require her to file separate disclosures.
Even after her many gifts, Forbes magazine still estimates Ms. Scott’s net worth at $49.4 billion.
In December she released a giving letter called “No Dollar Signs This Time,” in which she declined to name the organizations she had given to or the total amount of money she had handed out.
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Two days later, facing criticism that she had grown less rather than more transparent, she wrote an addendum in which she said she was working on a website that would include a “searchable database of gifts.”
Ms. Scott seemed to pre-empt any potential criticism that the website had not gone up yet, writing that it “will go live only after it reflects the preferences of every one of these nonprofit teams about how details of their gifts are shared.”
While Ms. Scott has written extensively about her goal of promoting equity and in particular her efforts to prioritize groups led by women, people of color and L.G.B.T.Q. people, she hasn’t shied away from more general direct aid in times of need, as when she gave to food banks and Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. chapters during the first, acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
“Helping any of us,” she concluded, “can help us all.”
Source by www.nytimes.com