MacKenzie Scott’s latest round of gifts prioritises philanthropy infrastructure

 

Elika Roohi and Charles Keidan

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MacKenzie Scott has announced her latest round of financial gifts – this time allocating $2.7 billion to almost 300 organisations. Among the groups receiving grants are many U.S. philanthropy ecosystem and infrastructure bodies, which Scott has described as ‘historically underfunded’.

Among the list of grantees this time are:

  • Candid
  • GivingTuesday ($7 million)
  • United Philanthropy Forum ($3 million)
  • National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy ($3 million)
  • National Center for Family Philanthropy
  • Native Americans in Philanthropy (‘multi-million dollar donation’)
  • Asian Americans in Philanthropy
  • CHANGE Philanthropy
  • Grantmakers for Effective Organisations
  • Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy
  • Exponent Philanthropy

This round of grants included funding for leading sector consultancy firms including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Foundation Strategy Group, and The Bridgespan Group – which undertook the research and analysis underpinning all the gifts.

It seems likely that Bridgepsan’s own consulting work in India would have contributed to a decision to provide funding to Give India – one of only a handful of non-U.S. philanthropy support organisation on the list.

Elsewhere, Scott’s funding for US publication Nonprofit Quarterly may signal a new focus of interest in support for philanthropy and nonprofit media.

Scott’s giving, which has come in three big bursts announced via Medium blog posts, has previously focused on impacting structural injustices through funding everything from historically Black colleges and universities to food banks. She has tended to concentrate on organisations run by leaders of colour, LGBTQ+ people, and women, seeking to support those groups that centre lived experience.

Scott makes her donations based on advice from Bridgespan, saying that organisations ‘were selected through a rigorous process of research and analysis’.

Her contributions are thought to be made through a donor-advised fund – a giving mechanism currently under review in a U.S. Senate bill and subject to less disclosure than traditional foundation structures.

Though avoiding traditional institutional philanthropy herself, Scott’s most recent donations signal that she sees the value in supporting the philanthropy ecosystem and infrastructure bodies, perhaps with the aim of recognising their contribution and pushing them in a more progressive direction.

As uncertainty surrounds the future of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, following the couples separation and Scott’s former husband, Jeff Bezos, seems focused on space exploration, Scott’s latest $2.7 billion in grants, following on from her $4.2 billion given in December and $1.7 billion given last July, firmly establishes her as one of the most generous and influential philanthropists working today.

Elika Roohi is Digital Editor at Alliance, and Charles Keidan is Executive Editor.


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