Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott says her donations have yielded more than $14 billion in funding for about 1,600 nonprofits since 2019, according to her long-awaited website Yield Giving, unveiled Wednesday night.
Scott also announced that she plans to introduce an “open-call process” that allows nonprofits seeking donations from her to send information to her for evaluation. Until now, Scott and her team secretly contacted organizations that they were interested in first, then offered unrestricted donations after receiving the group’s data.
“Information from other people – other givers, my team, the nonprofit teams I’ve been giving to – has been enormously helpful to me,” Scott wrote in a new essay. “If more information about these gifts can be helpful to anyone, I want to share it.”
The website includes a database of all of the gifts she’s made, she has said, some of which have not previously been disclosed. That includes a $75 million gift to the organization Co-Impact’s fund that supports gender equality and women’s leadership globally. Scott, and her then husband Dan Jewett, had been listed among the fund’s donors, but the gift amount had not been published. Co-Impact did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Another $40 million donation to the nonprofit consulting group that has helped Scott vet and select recipients of her donations was also disclosed.
“While we are an advisor of Scott’s on her philanthropy, we did not have prior knowledge of or involvement with the decision to include Bridgespan as a grant recipient,” The Bridgespan Group said in a statement Wednesday. The group has posted a list of donors who gave to it in 2022 on its website, though it said in the statement that it does not “have a practice” of announcing donations.
Nonprofits disclose information about who funds them in tax forms submitted to the IRS, which are eventually made public. But the pandemic has contributed to delays in processing forms from 2020. The disclosure by Scott of this information about her donations helps to increase transparency around her giving.
Scott promised to release the database of donations in an essay in March 2022, saying the site would not go live until “it reflects the preferences of every one of these nonprofit teams about how details of their gifts are shared.”
The organization Easterseals and its affiliates received a gift of $162 million from Scott in 2020. The organization said it had not been contacted by representatives of Scott’s to contribute content to the website but it has submitted extensive reporting about their use of the funds.
“We remain grateful for Ms. Scott’s generous philanthropy and will continue to impact the lives of people with disabilities, including veterans and seniors, through her transformational support,” Sharon Watson of Easterseals said by email.
Habitat for Humanity International also said it had not been contacted by Scott’s representatives specifically about content posted to the website.
Scott has signed The Giving Pledge, promising to give away more than half of her wealth, which largely comes from her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Scott, whose net worth Forbes currently estimates at $27 billion, has not given any interviews about her donations, opting to discuss her reasons in a handful of essays that she posted on Medium and now on Yield Giving.
On the site, Scott writes that she and her team evaluate organizations by analyzing their “potential for sustained positive impact,” including their finances, history, measurement of outcomes, and if they have “experienced leadership representative of the community served.”
Scott says the “open-call” process she plans to start will focus on specific types of organizations or certain locations. She plans to post criteria for eligibility and selection, as well as naming the panel evaluating the applications publicly.
“Will the website be helpful? Will expressing things in my own way (laboring over every word) lead to any misunderstanding?” she wrote. “Will misunderstanding be a barrier between us? Yes. Sometimes humans misunderstand each other. And yet, over time, each of us can help remove barriers through what we continue to choose to do.”
Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.