advocacy and activism

Morgan State University receives $40 million from Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife MacKenzie Scott

 

Located in  in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, Morgan State University is one of the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that recently received big donations from MacKenzie Scott, 50. As part of a plan to donate a majority of her fortune, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, 56, donated more than $4 billion to 384 organizations amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It was Scott’s second major charitable contribution in 2020. She enlisted the help of advisors to identify organizations that deserve her donations.

For four months, Scott and her advisors undertook deeper research into 822 organizations out of the 6,490 organizations they looked at. In particular, they selected organizations that operate in communities with low access to philanthropic capital, high local poverty rates, high measures of racial inequity and high projected food insecurity.

According to Scott, the result has been $4,158,500,00 in gifts to 384 organizations across all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. She wrote on Medium, “Some are filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable.”

“Others are addressing long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis,” Scott continued. She enumerated the inequities namely, “debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.”

 

On December 15, 2020, Morgan State University received $40 million gift from Scott. It was largest single private donation in the history of the university, which is the largest HBCU in Maryland.

After learning of the gift, Morgan State University president David Wilson called the university’s institutional advancement division vice president Donna Howard. He told The Baltimore Sun, “We’re just grateful that MacKenzie Scott is such an individual that understands the power of philanthropy and also the positive impact that higher education has in the health and well-being of individuals and communities in our nation.”

Established in 1867, the university was originally named the Centenary Biblical Institute. It was renamed Morgan College to honor Reverend Lyttleton Morgan, a land donor to the college and the first chairman of its board of trustees.

Author Howard Burton “Chip” Silverman, 65, graduated from the school in 1975, the same year it became a university.  Academy Award Winning actress Monique Angela Hicks, 53, who is mononymously known as Mo’Nique, also attended the university.

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