Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced in a blog post Tuesday that she has donated more than $4.1 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations, including several in New England.
The former spouse of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said she asked her advisors to speed up her planned philanthropic efforts in 2020 to help those affected by the ongoing pandemic, which she said “has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling.”
“Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty,” Scott wrote. “Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
In total, Scott said she gave more than $4.1 billion to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., spanning food banks, emergency relief funds, and other support services.
United Way of Central Massachusetts on Wednesday announced that it received a $5 million gift from Scott, which will help it expand its reach to thousands of people in need of its services during the pandemic. The chair of the group’s board of directors, Naomi Sleeper, said UWCM will use the funds to address urgent needs while also developing a plan for future investments.
Did you hear the news? Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has made a gift of $5 million to @UnitedWayofCM . Thank you @mackenziescott this will be a game-changer in our work to support @TweetWorcester https://t.co/vDB213WV30— United Way CM (@UnitedWayofCM) December 16, 2020
United Way of Rhode Island said on Twitter it received $10 million from Scott.
When choosing which organizations to support, Scott said she and her team prioritized groups “operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.” Scott said her team looked at nearly 6,500 organizations and conducted research into about 800 to identify the groups with the most demonstrated impact and effective management teams.
Tim Garvin, UWCM’s president and chief executive, said in a press release that the organization is “overwhelmed and humbled by MacKenzie Scott’s generosity,” and he hopes it will help Worcester “come back even stronger” from the pandemic.
In her blog post, Scott listed the recipients of gifts, but not the amount given.
Here’s a list of the organizations in New England that received a gift from Scott:
- Easterseals Massachusetts, which provides programs and services to children and adults with disabilities
- United Way of Central Massachusetts
- YMCA of Greater Boston
- YWCA Hartford Region
- United Way of Rhode Island
- Nonprofit Finance Fund (based in New York with an office in Boston)
- New Hampshire Charitable Foundation — Community Crisis Action Fund
- Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island
- The Housing Development Fund (based in Connecticut)
- Goodwill Northern New England
Anissa Gardizy can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.