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MacKenzie Scott focuses nearly third of giving on oft-ignored region



MacKenzie Scott is dedicating an unusually large share of her giving to nonprofits in the South — a region that megaphilanthropy and particularly tech donors have long been criticized for ignoring.

The maverick philanthropist has earmarked at least $3.1 billion for organizations in southern states since 2020 — nearly a third of the $10.6 billion in gifts disclosed on her new Yield Giving website. Her two largest donations in the region went to Prairie View A&M University in Texas and Enterprise Community Partners, a national organization focused on housing and racial equity. Both received $50 million. Altogether, she’s made 479 donations in the region.

Scott’s focus on the South is just one of the early findings from the data posted on Yield Giving. Altogether, she has made 1,604 gifts that total $14 billion. The website lists the recipients for all the donations, including amounts for 1,153. A full report of those outstanding donation amounts has been delayed, the site says, to benefit the recipient groups.

With each donation, the website notes one or more of 53 “focus areas” for the nonprofit. Because her contributions are unrestricted, the organization can use the money for operations or any area of its mission work.

For instance, Scott lists a $10 million gift to Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee as addressing economic development but also financial inclusion, workforce development, vocational education, and youth development.

As a result, the data provides a sense of Scott’s giving priorities, though not a precise accounting. The philanthropist has earmarked the most cash from her reported donations to education, with $8.9 billion going to groups with a focus on K-12, post-secondary, vocational, or some other form of learning institution. Health care groups have received $8.4 billion. (Donations may be designated for multiple focus areas; gifts to address education may also be counted as targeting health or other topics.)

Outspoken on racial and gender issues, Scott made $7.5 billion in gifts to groups that focus on equity and justice.

Other takeaways from the data:

— The vast majority of her disclosed giving — $8.9 billion — went to domestic issues. Globally focused groups received a little more than $1 billion.

— Co-Impact, a collaborative of big philanthropists trying to improve the health and well-being of people globally, received the largest reported gift, $75 million. The next largest were: GiveDirectly ($60 million), the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Prairie View, and Enterprise Community Partners ($50 million each).

— Affiliates of large federated organizations collectively saw gifts of hundreds of millions, including United Ways, which received at least $625 million. Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity announced $436 million in gifts from Scott to its network of groups

— Her smallest gifts ($300,000) went to Junior Achievement of New Mexico, the Caribe Girl Scouts Council in Puerto Rico, and Junior Achievement of West Kentucky.

• The average gift size was $9.2 million.

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