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MacKenzie Scott Closing In On $13 Billion

Edging closer to giving away $13 billion of her wealth, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has gifted $38.8 million to Junior Achievement USA to increase organizational capacity and support 26 local JA sites across the country.

The gift is the largest from a single donor in the organization’s 103-year history. The donation from Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, nearly matches JA USA’s net assets of $34 million as of June 30, 2021. (JA USA’s liabilities were $6.7 million as of June 2021, according to the organization’s online financial report).

As is her custom, Scott let JA USA make the announcement of her gift. In turn, leaders of the national office in Colorado Springs, Colo., will let the 26 local JA offices announce the windfall.

The funds will allow JA USA to build network capacity and create learning channels to benefit JA operations in the U.S. The organization works with schools and businesses to prepare youths for career success and entrepreneurship while emphasizing financial literacy and life skills. JAs also create curricula for schools to use in teaching good spending and saving habits.

“We greatly appreciate the incredible generosity of MacKenzie Scott for this amazing gift to our organization,” said JA President & CEO Jack E. Kosakowski via a release. “This investment will increase access to our learning experiences in underserved communities, as well as help us pay for things that are not usually top priorities for funders, such as updating our IT infrastructure.”

Kosawkowski’s statement continued: “Increasing efficiencies in our day-to-day business operations will allow us to make better use of other donor contributions in terms of delivering learning experiences to the young people we serve.”

Scott occasionally uses the online forum Medium to describe her approach to philanthropy and has written on Medium that a top consideration is how she can help underserved communities and populations. 

Scott recently gifted two single-family homes in Beverly Hills, with a joint estimated value of $55 million, to the California Community Foundation which secures housing and resources for the needy and homeless. 

According to a CCF spokeswoman, the two homes will be listed for sale. They are near each other on North Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills. One home is 12,000-square-feet, situated on two acres, and has a pool and sunken tennis court. The second is 4,568-square-feet in size and located on a half-acre, per descriptions on the Redfin real estate site.

With the Junior Achievement gifts, Scott has given away about $12.94 billion of her wealth to at least 1,259 organizations since 2020. She signed the Giving Pledge in 2019 with a promise to keep giving until 99% of her wealth is gone, and began distributing gifts in 2020.

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