MacKenzie Scott donating portion of $2.7 billion gift to 2 Texas colleges and Project Row Houses

Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Colleges 'blown away' by millions gifted by MacKenzie Scott
Two colleges around the Houston area are getting by far the largest gifts in their history thanks to the latest round of donations by MacKenzie Scott.

Six months after donating $50 million to Prairie View A&M, author and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is giving another generous gift to more Texas schools.

On Tuesday, Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. Scott is known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity issues.

In a post about her recent donations on Medium, she wrote that she made the gifts to enable the organizations to continue their work, and as a "signal of trust and encouragement" to them and others.

Now, Houston-area schools and organizations stand to benefit greatly.

Among them are Brazosport College in Lake Jackson and Project Row Houses, a non-profit artistic community in Houston's Third Ward.

READ MORE: Project Row Houses: How art is transforming part of Third Ward

San Jacinto College in Pasadena will receive $30 million from Scott and her husband Dan Jewett, the largest private gift in the college's history.

Because of her donation, the college said it will provide free tuition and fees for the entire class of 2021. That opportunity will be open to anyone who graduated this year and lives in their district.

"The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees, the San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors, as well as our employees and students, both current and future, are deeply grateful for this very generous gift," said Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. "We weren't expecting it, and it came at just the right time so we could put programs like 21Forward in place to help the students in east Harris County who made it through their senior year. These students were impacted by COVID, yet they persisted and graduated. We are honored to be able to use a portion of this gift to help students stay on their higher education pathway. We look forward to announcing plans for the remainder of the funding in the future. For now, we are stunned by this unbelievable gift and excited about the opportunities it provides for us to serve our community in new ways."

In Scott's blog post, she explained that she looked for "2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved."

ABC13 has reached out to Brazosport College and Project Row Houses to learn more about how Scott's gift will be used.

This is the third round of announcements Scott has made regarding her philanthropy. In 2020, she donated about $6 billion to COVID relief, gender equity, historically Black colleges and universities and other schools.

You can view the full list of recipients on Medium.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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