Another Major Gift From MacKenzie Scott — This Time $20 Million to Digital Promise

Managing Editor
FILE - In this March 4, 2018, file photo, then-MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. MacKenzie Scott is one of the 50 Americans who gave the most to charity in 2020, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual rankings. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has made an another substantial donation to an education organization with a $20 million gift to the tech- and innovation-focused nonprofit Digital Promise.

Scott has recently made huge contributions to organizations across the education space, including to one focused on the intersection of school practice and venture capital.

Digital Promise was created by an act of Congress in 2008 and launched a few years later. The organization focuses on pushing for innovations in schools through technology and creating new learning environments, among other strategies.

Earlier this year, Digital Promise unveiled a new strategic framework that puts a big emphasis on creating more equitable opportunities for disadvantaged students through research-based policies and practices.

The gift is the largest unrestricted donation to Digital Promise in its history. The organization says it will use the money for “strategic investments in our infrastructure, and in programs that can spark significant, positive impacts in the lives of learners and educators in the U.S. and around the world,” spokeswoman Erica Lawton Weinschenk said in an email.

Since its launch, Digital Promise has grown from two employees to 165 staff, she said.

Scott, who was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, earlier this year made a donation of $133.5 million to Communities in Schools, a nonprofit program that offers wraparound health and other social service supports for students in need. She has also emerged as a major supporter of historically Black colleges and universities, among other organizations.

As described recently by Education Week’s Denisa Superville, Scott’s philanthropic approach is distinct within the world of charitable giving. Her team researches potential organizations worthy of funding and then provides them with support to continue what they’re already doing.

Another gift, which will touch organizations in the education market, was a $35 million gift to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy that makes investments in education companies. The NewSchools program was the largest single donation the organization has ever received.

Photo of MacKenzie Scott from March of 2018. Evan Agostini/Invision via AP

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