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MacKenzie Scott, Bezos' ex-wife, gives $20 million to UC Merced

It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

MERCED, Calif. — MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. 

It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

She made clear in her announcement that she is troubled by the increasing concentration of vast wealth among a small proportion of individuals. 

She and her husband, Dan Jewett, worked with a team of researchers and philanthropy advisors "to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change."

Among those donations was what UC Merced called the "largest philanthropic gift in campus history," a $20 million gift to the university.

“Any words of thanks from us would be utterly inadequate to express our full gratitude, humility and sense of responsibility to serve as careful stewards of this gift. We pledge to continue to do the work that made UC Merced deserving of this magnificent investment in our students, faculty and staff,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said in a news release. 

He said the donation made 2021 their largest fundraising year ever.

In a Medium post, Scott wrote that higher education is a "proven pathway to opportunity" and was looking for institutions that have been educating students from underserved communities.

“The amount of increased philanthropic support we are receiving is the result of being able to tell amazing stories from all across our campus — the awe-inspiring work of faculty, staff and of course our students,” ” said Vice-Chancellor and Chief External Relations. Officer E. Edward Klotzbier.

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