Best-selling billionaire author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott just earned straight A’s from a Brooklyn charter school.
Scott delivered an unsolicited $11 million gift to Ascend Public Charter Schools, where Chief Executive Officer Recy Benjamin Dunn was both proud and thrilled by the donation that will fund expansion into three new campuses in Flatbush, Cypress Hill and Brownsville with an additional 1,000 new students.
“Scott is recognizing what I saw the very first day I walked into Ascend,” said Dunn, head of the schools that opened in 2008 with 210 students. “It’s validation of Ascend’s mission to foster a love of learning through equitable education to help our students reach their dreams.
“We are grateful and honored to to be selected by Scott for her generous donation.”
Scott noted in a Medium post about the gift that her team’s focus was supporting “the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds.” At Ascend, 93% of the 5,800 current students from grades K-12 are Black or Latino.
According to Dunn, the gift will also help them focus on long-term strategies to strengthen the schools and its roots in Brooklyn communities. The money will come without restriction, allowing the school to use the funding in whatever way its leaders deem most impactful.
Forbes magazine ranks Scott, who recently divorced her second husband Dan Jewett, as one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $33 billion. She was previously married to Amazon founder and fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos, and just last week made an $85 million donation to the Girl Scouts of America.
Three years ago, she signed a charitable “Giving Pledge” to donate most of her wealth to charity during her lifetime. Since mid-2020, Scott has made an estimated $12.8 billion in gifts to more than 1,200 organizations.
“We are truly grateful to Ms. Scott for her belief in Ascend and the work we do,” said Dunn.