Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has been on a donation spree in the past few months, with more than a dozen gifts funding reproductive health and childhood education. Her most recent grants, which have been funneled to nonprofits focused on affordable housing, bring her total giving in 2023 to an estimated $100 million.
Scott, formerly married to Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, pledged in 2019 to give away the majority of her $37.2 billion fortune to charity. The philanthropic powerhouse vets and grants donations through her foundation, Yield Giving, which employs an unrestricted gifting method, meaning Scott doesn’t have a say in how her financial contributions are spent by recipients.
Yield Giving has given more than $14 billion to around 1,600 non-profits in the past three years, with its newest donation going to Stewards of Affordable Housing (SAHF), a non-profit coalition of 12 multi-state affordable housing organizations that owns nearly 150,000 affordable rental homes. Scott’s newest gift, announced by SAHF on August 7, is the largest individual contribution in the organization’s 20-year history.
While SAHF did not disclose the exact terms of the donation, its CEO and president Andrea Posner called the gift a “multi-million-dollar contribution” in a statement. “MacKenzie Scott’s generous gift avoids the temptation to over-program the solution and allows us to double down on this commitment to strengthening organizations and creating policies that ask how an expanded supply of affordable homes can create the greatest impact,” she said.
More than a dozen nonprofits have publicized their donations from Scott this year
As Scott has reportedly given at least $97 million to 17 nonprofits in 2023, her multi-million-dollar gift to SAFH likely pushes Yield Giving’s total donations this year past the nine-figure mark. The philanthropist also recently donated $10 million to National Housing Trust (NHT), a non-profit that preserves and modernizes affordable housing across the U.S. The organization, which focuses on advancing housing supply, sustainability and racial equity, said the donation will help it expand into renewable energy by transitioning affordable housing stock to renewable energy sources.
“This gift will enable us to inject much-needed resources into the fight to provide safe and sustainable housing to people all over the country as we grapple with a nationwide affordable housing crisis,” said NHT’s CEO Priya Jayachandran in a statement. The financial contribution followed another gift focused on affordable housing, in which $12 million was granted to the collaborative Housing Partnership Network.
Scott’s largest donation in 2023 was to the Fistula Foundation, a San Jose-based nonprofit that received $15 million earlier this year. The organization supports the treatment of obstetric fistulas, a medical condition that occurs in women during childbirth and leads to urinary and fecal incontinence. Yield Giving’s donation will fund its five-year plan to provide 80,000 surgeries to women across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
Other gifts from Scott in the past eight months have included a $10 million donation to the Alliance for Early Success, which is launching an initiative to improve state policies for young children; and an $8 million contribution to the Erikson Institute, a graduate school that will use the funds to grow the child-development workforce, expand early childhood mental health services and create academic programs centered on equity and justice, according to a database of donations compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
While Scott has traditionally selected which foundations receive grants, Yield Giving launched an open call for non-profits to request donations of $1 million in March. The request brought in more than 6,300 applicants from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 250 winners, who will be announced early next year, will be vetted by Scott and her foundation.