Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local branches, the 110-year-old organization said Tuesday, calling it a vote of confidence. "Her support of our organization means honestly just as much as the donation," Sofia Chang, CEO of GSUSA, tells the AP. It's the largest donation the Girl Scouts has received from an individual since its founding in 1912, she said, adding that the funds will help the organization recover from the impact of the pandemic, which drove down membership.
The organization plans to use the money to support volunteers and staff, make camp properties more resistant to the impacts of climate change, improve science and technology education for youth members, and develop diversity and inclusion programming to make troops more accessible. Philanthropic giving to organizations that specifically serve women and girls represents less than 2% of all donations, according to a research project of the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The institute found that proportion hasn't changed significantly between 2012 and 2019, the years the study has tracked.
Scott communicates infrequently about her giving, which has totaled around $12 billion since 2019. She has donated large, unrestricted grants to many different kinds of organizations, though her gifts have had a special focus on racial equity. Scott also made a blockbuster $275 million gift to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates this year. In September, Scott filed for divorce from her second husband, Dan Jewett, whose profile was also removed from website of The Giving Pledge, a group that asks billionaires to give more than half their wealth away in their lifetimes. Her first husband was Jeff Bezos.
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