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Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $640M to nonprofits, including two in Tampa Bay

Updated: Mar 25

By Devonta Davis – Digital Producer, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $640 million to over 360 nonprofits throughout the United States, including two in the Tampa Bay area. Yield Giving, a philanthropic organization founded by Scott, has announced the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa and REACHUP as recipients of the Yield Giving Open Call award.


The award is given to organizations working with individuals and communities experiencing the most significant need in the U.S.


CDC of Tampa was awarded $2 million for its efforts to create opportunities for individuals to build futures and communities.


"Through Yield Giving, we can sustain our ability to offer efficient employment and certification training while also expanding our services to include health care, IT and environmental technologies," said CDC of Tampa President/CEO Ernest Coney Jr. in a statement. "The funding will also enable us to expand our capacity to offer a range of residential options to meet the housing affordability needs of the community. At CDC of Tampa, we aim to create more than just homes, but a vibrant community where individuals can build their dreams, raise families and establish roots."


REACHUP, a nonprofit organization in Hillsborough County, was also awarded $2 million by Scott's organization. 


REACHUP was officially created in the summer of 2006; the organization advocates for and mobilizes resources to achieve health equity in vulnerable communities, focusing on optimal health for all families.


In March 2023, Yield Giving launched an open call for community-led organizations focused on enabling individuals and families to improve their well-being through foundational resources. The call received over 6,353 applications and planned to award 250 organizations $1 million each before the expansion of the awards was announced. "The donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount," said Lever for Change, specializing in running philanthropic prize awards.


In fall 2023, organizations top-rated by their peers advanced to a second round of review by an external evaluation panel. The panel recruited individuals with experience relevant to the cause and underwent a final round of due diligence.


In a note on her website, Scott wrote she was grateful to Lever for Change, the organization that managed the open call, and the evaluators for "their roles in creating this pathway to support for people working to improve access to foundational resources in their communities."


The 279 nonprofits that received top scores were awarded $2 million, while 82 organizations in a second tier received $1 million each.


Scott has given away $16.5 billion from the fortune she came into after divorcing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.


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