MacKenzie Scott Donates $640 Million to Small Nonprofits

Billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has announced a generous donation of $640 million to 361 small nonprofits that responded to an open call for applications. This first round of donations by Yield Giving exceeds what Scott had initially pledged to give away through the application process.

Since 2019, Scott and her team have been researching and selecting organizations without an application process and providing them with large, unrestricted gifts. However, this open call managed by Lever for Change marks a new approach to her philanthropy efforts.

In a brief note on her website, Scott expressed her gratitude to Lever for Change and the evaluators for their roles in creating a pathway to support people working to improve access to foundational resources in their communities. According to Elisha Smith Arrillaga, vice president at The Center for Effective Philanthropy, the increase in both the award amount and the number of organizations selected is a pleasant surprise.

With over 6,000 nonprofits applying for the $1 million grants, Lever for Change decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount. The 279 nonprofits that received top scores from an external review panel were awarded $2 million each, while 82 organizations in a second tier received $1 million each.

Competitions like Scott’s open call can help organizations without specific connections with a funder get considered, said Renee Karibi-Whyte, senior vice president at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. This marks a significant step in Scott’s philanthropic journey and could potentially have a profound impact on the nonprofit sector.


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