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MacKenzie Scott donates $640 million, including $137 million to California nonprofits

When a nonprofit serving Los Angeles’ homeless and foster youth applied last year for a share of billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott’s latest round of donations, the group was hoping to get $1 million.

Instead, the Youth Emerging Stronger team learned this week that it was one of nearly 300 community groups across the country to receive $2 million.

“It’s doubled the amount we were hoping for,” said Mark Supper, executive director and president of Youth Emerging Strong, adding, “We’re a little stunned by it, but we’re so happy.”

Scott, who co-founded Amazon with her ex-husband, chief executive Jeff Bezos, has donated $640 million to more than 350 community groups across the country, more than double the amount she originally planned to give, according to Yield Giving, Scott’s website. Of this pot, $137 million was donated to 76 organizations serving Californians. The majority received $2 million, but about 80 organizations received $1 million.

The nonprofit Supper was among 25 Southern California groups that shared $47 million.

“For us, this is truly a transformative gift,” Supper said. “It allows us to really think long-term in our strategies and approaches.”

News of the massive donation was only a few days old, and Supper said his team is still working on specific plans for how to use the money. But he said YES will certainly focus on expanding housing and mental health services for the vulnerable youth, ages 12 to 24, that it serves.

Supper said her nonprofit was recently notified that it was among the finalists in Scott’s open call — which received more than 6,000 applications — for “community-led, health-focused organizations.” community whose explicit purpose is to advance the voices and opportunities of individuals and families. meager or modest means, and groups that have encountered discrimination and other systemic barriers.

“We are so happy that they saw the value in our work,” Supper said. “This is a critical age group that I think a lot of people don’t spend a lot of time on when we look at the issue of people without housing.”

Other Southern California winners include the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach; Pacoima Beautiful, an environmental justice group in the San Fernando Valley; Reality Changers, a San Diego group working with first-generation college students; and the California Native Vote Project, which advocates for the Native American community, according to Scott’s gift database.

This round of donations follows numerous other donations from Scott, who has pledged to give away more than half of his wealth, estimated at around $32 billion, according to Forbes. Scott has typically given to organizations without an application process, but this time she worked with the philanthropic group Lever for Change to analyze the thousands of applicants.

“I am grateful to Lever for Change and all members of the evaluation and implementation teams for their role in creating this pathway of support for people working to improve access to fundamental resources in their communities,” she said. Scott wrote on his website Tuesday. “They are essential agents of change. »

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