Business and Ethics / People of SU

Seattle U in the News: 5 takeaways from MacKenzie Scott’s $1.7 billion in support for social justice causes

July 30, 2020

"As a scholar of philanthropy, I believe that (MacKenzie) Scott is modeling five best practices for social change giving," writes Elizabeth Dale, PhD, assistant professor of Nonprofit Leadership.

In a column she penned for The Conversation, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Leadership Elizabeth Dale writes about the author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott who announced that she’s disbursed nearly US$1.7 billion of her fortune to 116 organizations. Dale's five takeaways from Scott's giving practices:

  • Don’t attach strings: All of Scott’s 116 gifts were made without restrictions. 
  • Champion representation: According to Scott, 91 percent of the racial equity organizations she funded are run by leaders of color. All of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations that she’s backing are led by LGBTQ+ leaders. And 83 percent of the gender equity organizations are run by women. 
  • Act first, talk later: Rather than making lengthy announcements about her plans, Scott chose to distribute this money rapidly and directly.
  • Don’t obsess about scale: Many of the organizations receiving these gifts are relatively small in scale and lack widespread name recognition. 
  • Leverage more than money: Philanthropy that’s intended to bring about social change inherently expresses the donor’s values.