Mackenzie Scott’s Sudden Rise in Philanthropy to HBCU’s

By Joya Wheatfall-Melvin

January 03, 2021

Just before the Christmas holidays, renowned author and the second-richest woman in the world, Mackenzie Scott, donated a total of $6 billion to nearly 400 organizations, primarily focusing on Historically Black Colleges and minority institutions nationwide. Due to her high-profile divorce from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, Scott landed a $38 billion settlement.

According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, her ex-husband Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world with a whopping net worth totaling over $182 billion. As the founder and creator of Amazon, his wealth is greater than that of fellow billionaires Elon Musk (founder of SpaceX and Tesla, Inc.) and Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft Corporation). According to CNBC, research has indicated that he would be able to end world hunger twice. However, Jeff Bezos has been periodically criticized for his lack of giving, whereas his ex-wife has been universally praised for her philanthropy.

Mackenzie Scott's Philanthropy

Mackenzie Scott donated, (at the time of this article) $842 million to 42 schools worldwide with no added conditions. Of that amount, $560 million went to HBCUs. She donated $50 million to Prairie View A&M University and $45 million to North Carolina A&T State University. Other notable HBCU’s, such as Howard University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College received over $20 million in gifts.

The president of Spelman College, Mary Schmidt Campbell responded to Scott’s gift stating, “You know what you are doing. You do it well. I am affirming that.” As well as directly donating to Historically Black Institutions, Mackenzie Scott also invested in future HBCU students by including the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall Fund in her gift-giving. She additionally donated to a dozen of national Hispanic and Tribal colleges. The Washington Post remarks that she has paved a different way for modern college philanthropy with full trust and no financial conditions attached to her gifts.

„You know what you are doing. You do it well. I am affirming that.”
Mary Schmidt Campbell - President of Spelman College

Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M states, “There’s a long history in this country of minority institutions being underfunded, being thought of as not competing with White institutions, and therefore not receiving adequate funding to do the work that we do.” As a Spelman College undergraduate student, I am completely appreciative for the gifts she has given, not only to larger institutions, but to the smaller HBCU’s that aren’t popularly known and have less resources.

Mackenzie Scott and her financial advisors did a great job of HBCU inclusion and recognition with the donations they gave. With fellow HBCU’s: Xavier College, Howard University, and Spelman College producing the most Black doctors notes that these gifts to other institutions gives hope to student success. "I confidently and duly believe that Mackenzie Scott’s gifts will become a trend amongst the wealthiest to help get rid of underfunded HBCU’s  and help these very worthy institutions maximize the potential of their students." The success of HBCU’S is also America’s success!


Click Here to See the Donations to your HBCU