HOUSTON - Writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott brought Christmas early to hundreds of organizations to the tune of $4.16 billion as part of a giving pledge she announced last year. Some of them were donations to groups in the greater Houston area, including two gifts that are historic.
The former wife of Jezz Bezos gave a record-setting donation to Prairie View A&M University.
Scott donated $50 million to be used at the discretion of the PVAMU President to support the needs of the university.
"This is a historic gift for Prairie View, coming at a time when the University had already decided and begun to invest heavily in key areas to strengthen its academic programs and improve student success," said Ruth J. Simmons, President of Prairie View in a statement. "The timing of this gift could, therefore, not be better."
The university, which is one of two schools in Texas to receive a donation from Scott, says it is dedicating $10 million to juniors and seniors with "unpaid balances created by the financial challenges posed by COVID-19."
Scott also gave a record-setting $18 million gift to the YMCA of Greater Houston. It is the single largest donation in the organization's 134-year history.
The YMCA of Greater Houston said in a statement that it "will use the $18 million gift to sustain current efforts as well as help move forward with refined initiatives that end isolation, fight inequality, inspire youth to thrive, remove limits and reimagine opportunities for all, and restore hope and well-being for refugees and immigrants."
Other great Houston-area and southeast Texas organizations Scott donated to include:
In May of last year, MacKenzie Scott pledged to give the majority of her wealth back to the society that helped generate it.
Then earlier this year, she donated nearly $2 billion to 116 organizations driving change in the areas of racial equality, LGBTQ + Equity, Public Health, Climate Change and more.
“These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day,” Scott wrote in a Medium post. “They help by delivering vital services, and also through the profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued, and trusted by another human being – this kind of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic on everyone.”