MacKenzie Scott donates over $85 million to the Girl Scouts


On June 7, 2021, a picture of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, headquarters of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails is displayed. MacKenzie Scott, a philanthropist, has given $84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its regional councils. hide caption Susan Montoya Bryan/AP

switch to caption Author: Susan Montoya Bryan On June 7, 2021, a picture of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, headquarters of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails is displayed. MacKenzie Scott, a philanthropist, has given $84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its regional councils.

Author: Susan Montoya Bryan THE NEW YORK The 110-year-old organization said Tuesday that philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local chapters, describing it as a vote of confidence.

According to Sofia Chang, CEO of GSUSA, “Her support of our organization means honestly just as much as the donation.”

Since the organization’s establishment in 1912, it is the largest gift a single donor has given to the Girl Scouts, according to her. The money will aid in the organization’s recovery from the pandemic’s effects, which resulted in a decline in membership. The Girl Scouts intend to support volunteers and staff, strengthen science and technology education for young members, improve camp facilities’ resistance to the effects of climate change, and provide diversity and inclusion programs to make their units more accessible.

According to CEO Kristen Garcia-Hernandez, the Girl Scout council in Southern Arizona decided to utilize the $1.4 million it got from Scott to improve the job they are already doing rather than launch a new program or initiative.

We are a small council, and we are not located in a significant metropolitan area. Therefore, for us, gifts of this scale don’t occur frequently. stated Garcia-Hernandez.

With the help of the donation, they can hire more personnel more quickly and offer programming all year round in the majority of the seven counties they serve. The council will also complete a project they’ve been trying to fund for a year and a half: outfitting a van as a mobile science and technology classroom. According to her, many local donors appear to believe that the Girl Scouts’ cookie sales will cover all of their costs.

“While the cookie program definitely keeps us afloat and is amazing, and the girls are involved in it, making it even more lovely, we definitely need more from the community,” stated Garcia-Hernandez.

A study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that less than 2% of all donations are made to charities that cater to the needs of women and girls. The institute discovered that between 2012 and 2019, the study’s tracking years, the proportion did not change considerably.

Major donations from female philanthropists like Melinda French Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, and Scott, according to Tessa Skidmore, a research associate at the institute, could motivate other donors.

These are the kinds of things, she continued, “that may change that figure.”

On October 11, the International Day of the Girl, the institute collaborated with Pivotal Ventures, the investment company formed by French Gates, and other organizations to promote contributing to women and girls. Additionally, it makes its giving data available in the hopes that donors or researchers may use it to assess the gender equity of donations.

About her giving, which has totalled $12 billion since 2019, Scott communicates sparingly. She has made significant, unrestricted grants to a wide range of organizations, but her donations have a particular focus on racial fairness. Scott also gave the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates a record-breaking $275 million this year.

Scott filed for divorce from her second husband, Dan Jewett, in September. Jewett’s profile was also taken down from The Giving Pledge’s website, which encourages millionaires to donate more than half of their money over the course of their lifetimes. Last year, the ex-couple announced their decision to donate Scott’s riches, which is mostly the result of her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, on the website.

During the epidemic, the Girl Scouts’ enrollment among young people dropped precipitously, plummeting by over 30% from roughly 1.4 million in 2019–2020 to little over 1 million in 2021–2022. Chang recognized the decline but argued that the organization’s activities constantly assist females in gaining confidence and addressing issues in their neighborhood.

Because troops couldn’t truly meet in person, Chang claimed that “our customary approach of helping girls was really upended during the pandemic.” We’re really listening to our Girl Scouts, their families, and our volunteers to really ensure that what comes next for us is actually effective at this moment, so that we can rebuild stronger than we ever had before.