Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently donated $40 million to Morgan State University, making it the largest individual donation the historically Black college (HBCU) in Baltimore has received since it was founded.
The monies will go towards “student success, spur research and further our strategic plan,” the school stated from its official Twitter account on Tuesday.
Morgan State said it is on a mission to become one of the leading public research universities and was selected due to the university’s commitment to racial justice and equity.
“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures. I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgment of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come,” said President David Wilson.
Prairie View A&M in Texas received $50 million from Scott, as well, also making it the largest individual contribution the school has received. The gift increases the school’s endowment from $95 million to almost $130 million, making it one of the largest among historically Black colleges and universities.
Scott, the ex-wife to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and the world’s richest person, was given $38 billion after their split in 2019. Over the past year, her wealth accumulated to $60B as Amazon’s stock continues to rise during the pandemic.
Scott’s donation is part of the Giving Pledge initiative, formed by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates which asks the world’s richest people to donate large portions of their money to charity. In a post on Medium, Scott shared that she donated over $4B to 384 organizations across all 50 states in the last four months.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty,” she wrote. “Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic,” she continued.
In this latest round of philanthropic efforts, Scott plans to donate to several HBCUs other than Morgan State including Claflin University, Virginia State University and Dillard University. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, Scott had donated an estimated $160 million to HBCUs and HBCU advocacy organizations, according to Yahoo News.