MacKenzie Scott, novelist and former wife of Jeff Bezos, announced on Tuesday donations of over $2.7 billion in unrestricted grants, notably targeted at the arts, small and mid-sized colleges, and racial justice groups.
"Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected," Scott wrote in her blog announcement. "The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked."
“Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health,” Scott wrote.
Among the small to mid-sized arts and BIPOC-led organization recipients are Souls Grown Deep, Studio Museum in Harlem, the New England Foundation for the Arts, National Museum of Mexican Art, United States Artists, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), East Bay Fund for Artists, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Art for Justice Fund, Arts Administrators of Color Network, Arts Midwest and many more.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, said, “Like other institutions that are benefiting from MacKenzie Scott’s generosity, The Studio Museum in Harlem will now be positioned more strongly to contribute to its audiences, its artists, its city, and the world of art. I am deeply inspired when I think about the possibilities for important and groundbreaking work that this gift will enable for years to come.”
In 2020, Scott gave a combined $6 billion to 500 organizations, although few arts organizations were recipients last year.