News & Views


January 29, 2024

How MacKenzie Scott Shares Her Financial Fortune

Since 2019, MacKenzie Scott has given over $16 billion through 1,964 unrestricted grants, 360 of which were awarded in 2023 (Giving Update). Her giving is chronicled on Yield Giving, where each gift is listed with grant recipient self-reported geographies of service (up to three, ranging in specificity from a city to the entire globe) and focus areas (up to five). Gift amounts are also listed unless grantees elect to delay disclosure.  

The data highlights that Scott’s giving is becoming more consistent over time. Average gift sizes are becoming more consistent across focus areas and regions. Scott's giving remains critical in addressing disparities in these focus areas, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Total giving to date (the sum of all reported gift amounts from 2019-2023) remains the highest by far in Scott’s top four categories: Education, Equity & Justice, Economic Security & Opportunity, and Health.

Through the Collaborative Learning for Impact Philanthropy initiative, Panorama Global has been analyzing and documenting Scott’s giving. Before Yield Giving was published, Panorama conducted an in-depth analysis of Scott’s giving to 1,251 organizations and published an infographic to capture her initial giving from 2019 to 2022. Based on the self-reported information available in Yield Giving, we analyzed Scott's giving to date, with a focus on the latest tranche of gifts in 2023.

When comparing Scott’s giving from 2019-2022 vs. her giving in 2023, the top four categories remained the same – health, equity & justice, economic security & opportunity, and education. However, there were a few notable changes in Scott’s 2023 giving:  

  • Increase in the percentage of gifts going to organizations that focus on health
  • Decrease in the percentage of gifts going to organizations that focus on education
  • Decrease in the percentage of gifts going to organizations that focus on arts & culture

In 2023, average gift sizes decreased substantially with only one exception. Arts & Culture was the only focus area that saw the average gift size increase by just under $1 million. This is especially interesting given that the percentage of gifts that went to Arts & Culture organizations decreased so substantially – suggesting Scott’s strategy shifted towards making fewer but larger gifts in this sector in 2023.  

In 2023, average gift sizes were more consistent across focus areas – before 2023, the range of the average gift sizes was $6.98 million between Environment (highest) and Arts & Culture (lowest). In 2023, the range of average gift sizes was $2.49 million between Environment (highest) and Health (lowest).

A Closer Look

Yield Giving lists five sub-categories under Education (youth development, elementary/secondary education, early learning, postsecondary/tertiary education, and vocational education). When analyzing all of Scott’s giving, close to 600 organizations reported a focus on Youth Development – nearly 30% of all grantees.

Looking closer at organizations that reported a focus on Equity and Justice, nearly 40% of Scott’s grant recipients self-reported as focusing on Race & Ethnicity.

Yield Giving lists 12 sub-categories under the Health focus area, including organizations working on a variety of issues like Mental & Behavioral Health (such as the SAFE Project) and Infectious & Parasitic Diseases (such as The END Fund).

24% of Scott’s gifts went to organizations that list Livelihoods & Workforce Development as a focus area, including organizations like Youth 4 Jobs, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and National Skills Coalition.

In 2023, 84% of Scott grant recipients reported geographies of service in the United States. Scott’s giving remains the highest in the Southern region. Before 2023, 30% of gifts went to organizations that serve the South, followed by 18% to organizations in the West. In 2023, her giving became more consistent across US regions – with 24% going to the South and 22% going to the West (followed by 16% to the Midwest and 14% to the Northeast). In 2022, Panorama analyzed Scott’s US giving and found that all 50 states received gifts. The states with the lowest number of grants per capita were Utah, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Idaho.

While Scott’s giving continues to be primarily in the US, 18% of her gifts went to organizations with reported geographies of service outside the US, and 13% went to organizations serving the Global South. Additionally, 6.3% listed their geography of service as Global.  

Within Scott’s 2023 international giving, regional distributions remained largely consistent with her previous giving. One notable change is the increase in giving in South Asia – which rose from 3.7% to 6.9% of total gifts in 2023.

About this Analysis

This analysis was based on the data about Scott’s 1,964 gifts, available at Yield Giving. It's important to note that self-reported data, like the focus areas and geographies of service listed in Yield Giving, has inherent limitations. Additionally, Scott grant recipients were given the option to delay disclosure of grant amounts, therefore about 28% of the grants (556 grants) are unreported. We elected to include information on average grant sizes despite this, because about 28% of total funding ($4.5 billion) is also unreported. Since these percentages are so similar, we believe the average grant size of the reported grants is likely representative of the average grant size for all grantees.

We welcome you to explore Panorama Global’s Collaborative Learning for Impact Philanthropy (CLIP) initiative, analyzing and sharing learnings from impact philanthropy. Over the last two years we've published a series of Insights reports examining the impact of MacKenzie Scott's gifts on nonprofits and addressing the need for further unrestricted and trust-based funding.

This work is funded, in part, by the Skoll Foundation.

Related Topics:
More publications
Your vision

Your vision.

Our Platform

Our platform.