NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has given the Urban League of Louisiana a $5.7 million gift, the largest donation in the agency’s 84-year history.
The Urban League of Louisiana, founded in 1938, hosts a variety of programs covering youth education, economic development and policy.
With the gift from Scott, the agency plans to expand its programs aimed at securing economic self-reliance and civil rights for underserved communities, the organization’s president and CEO, Judy Reese Morse, said in a statement Monday.
“So often the work of black-led, community-serving organizations goes unnoticed and under-resourced,” she said. “Ms. Scott’s spirit and conviction to address historic disparities by supporting organizations that prioritize and engage the community inspires us to remain unwavering in our commitment to deliver even more for black and other underserved communities in Louisiana.”
Morse said Scott’s gift would be “transformational.”
With a net worth estimated at over $30 billion by Forbes, Scott is one of the wealthiest people in the world. Much of that fortune stems from her 2019 divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, in which she received a 25% stake in the company.
Along with other billionaires, Scott has signed what is known as The Giving Pledge, a promise from the mega-wealthy to give away most of their fortunes.
Scott, in a statement, said her giving was guided by her desire to support local organizations rather than tell them how to solve problems.
“We don’t advocate for particular policies or reforms. Instead, we seek a portfolio of organizations that supports the ability of all people to participate in solutions,” she said. “This means a focus on the needs of those whose voices have been underrepresented.”