2 Montgomery organizations get part of $4 billion Scott donation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Billionaire philanthropist McKenzie Scott continues to donate large sums of money to organizations around the country, including in Alabama.

The wealthy ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, has promised to give away the majority of her money, and she has a team of advisors working to do just that.

In a recent post on Medium.com titled “384 Ways to Help,” Scott announced that she’d asked her team to help her “accelerate” her efforts to help those in need.

Over the past four months, that acceleration has put more than $4 billion in the hands of 384 organizations, located in every state, including in Alabama where it will go to the Montgomery Area Food Bank and the YMCA of Greater Montgomery.

Gary A. Cobbs, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Montgomery, said to be chosen for a donation was “a true testament to our impact through the programs we provide, our dedicated staff who work tirelessly to serve everyone who enters our doors and our members who stayed with the Y through the pandemic.”

Cobbs declined to share how much the donation was for at this point, saying the YMCA wants to “first focus on how best to use Ms. Scott’s generous gift.”

The Montgomery Area Food Bank has not yet publicly reacted.

Scott said her advisors “took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”

Initially, Scott’s team looked at 6,490 organizations and, after researching them, narrowed the list to the 348 organizations selected for donations.

“We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” Scott wrote.

While it’s unclear exactly how much each organization received, Scott said each would get the determined amount of money entirely upfront and that it would be unrestricted “in order to provide them with maximum flexibility.”

In July, Scott gave $20 million to Tuskegee University as part of a round of donations. It was the single largest donation to the university in its history.

While it’s unclear how the money was divided, had Scott shared an equal amount with each of the 384 organizations, that would be approximately $10.6 million for each.

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