BALTIMORE (WJZ) — MacKenzie Scott gifted $20 million to the United Way of Central Maryland, the organization announced Wednesday. It’s the largest single donation in the nonprofit’s 95-year history.
Scott, who was formerly married to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, donated a total of $4.2 billion to charities over the span of four months.
“A gift of this size allows us to fast-track our already proven programs and services to help more people, more rapidly,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “We know that systemic change is required to tackle immediate needs and longstanding inequities here in Greater Baltimore. We will continue to get people what they need right now, while tackling the long-term and structural challenges that we know are creating barriers to life’s basic needs.”
According to the United Way, Scott and her advisors began with 6,500 organizations and narroed it down to 384 organizations.
“We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” Scott wrote.
Her wealth is now valued at more than $60 billion, representing a boost of almost $24 billion since the start of the year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“The fact that Scott’s gift included no parameters for the critical work we do is a testament to her support of our work as a proven lifeline for those in need—all the time, but especially during the COVID-19 crisis,” added Baker.
“We are profoundly grateful to MacKenzie Scott for her trust and investment in United Way of Central Maryland and our 95-year mission to do what we are here to do: improve lives by empowering leaders and mobilizing the caring power of our communities,” Baker added. “This transformative gift will immediately be translated to meaningful impact and support key initiatives of our strategic plan to bring together partners to take on the toughest challenges facing our communities, propel innovative programs that benefit the residents of our region, and connect generous people with the causes they care about most. We are honored and proud that we were selected among so many truly amazing organizations from across the country. It is the greatest validation of the good work we’re doing.”