St. Paul nonprofits benefit from recent largesse of billionaire Mackenzie Scott

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Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has once again given millions to local nonprofits.

In the past, mostly in 2022, Scott donated more than $50 million to nonprofits serving Minnesotans.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Scott announced $2.1 billion that she’s made in charitable donations since November 2022, in a post Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, on her website Yield Giving. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

In this latest round, Scott announced she was donating $2.5 million to the Battered Women’s Justice Project and $2 million to the Hmong American Partnership, both in St. Paul.

May yer Thao, president and CEO of the Hmong American Partnership, expressed deep gratitude for the “unexpected and impactful contribution.”

“We are incredibly thankful for Mackenzie Scott’s generous donation, which will undoubtedly play a crucial role in advancing our mission to drive prosperity within Minnesota’s Hmong and New American communities,” said Thao.

The nonprofit organization said the donation will bolster its “ability to make a positive impact and address the unique challenges faced by the communities it serves. The funds will be utilized to expand existing programs, launch new initiatives, and strengthen the organization’s overall capacity to drive positive change.”

Amy Sanchez, CEO of The Battered Women’s Justice Project, said her organization is “thrilled and honored to receive a donation from Mackenzie Scott, we are excited to use the funds to beef up reserves, boost programming, and possibly add more staffing.”

In September, Scott gave a $2 million grant to a Little Canada nonprofit called Think Small that provides early childhood care and education. At the time, the organization posted on its Facebook page that it was “honored to receive this incredibly generous gift from Mackenzie Scott. Think Small and Think Small Institute will put these resources to great use to improve the quality of care children receive in Minnesota and across the country.”

These donations are the latest examples of Scott showering east metro nonprofits. Her other gifts include:

$5 million to Penumbra Theatre (2021)
$20 million to Planned Parenthood North Central States (2022)
$13.5 million to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (2022)
$6 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities (2022)
$4.2 million to Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys (2022)
$1.9 million to St. Paul’s Junior Achievement North (2022)

Scott donated more than $2.1 billion in the past year, she said in a brief online post, bringing her total reported giving to more than $16 billion since 2019.

While previous announcements have included detailed essays about the reasons for her donations, this time Scott offered only a three-sentence post: “Excited to call attention to these 360 outstanding organizations, every one of whom could use more allies.” She added, “Inspired by all the ways people work together to offer each other goodwill and support.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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