The 110-year-old organization announced Tuesday that philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local chapters, describing it as a vote of confidence.
Scott, who has a staggering net worth of $31.6 billion after her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, recently went through a second divorce with her longtime partner, science teacher Dan Jewett.
Despite being the 41st wealthiest person in the world according to Bloomberg’s real-time Billionaires Index, she constantly contributes a portion of her wealth to charity and has done so for at least $12.8 billion since 2020.
Since the organization’s establishment in 1912, it is the greatest gift a single donor has given to the Girl Scouts, according to her.
The money will aid in the organization’s recovery from the pandemic’s effects, which resulted in a decline in membership.
In an interview, Sofia Chang, the CEO of Girl Scouts USA, stated that the woman’s support for the organization meant “honestly just as much as the gift.”
After fewer than two years of marriage and charitable collaboration, she filed for divorce from Jewett a month ago, prompting her kind contribution.
Jewett, 47, and Scott were seldom ever seen together, and last year he secretly quit his position as a teacher at a private high school in Washington, claiming he did not want to be a nuisance there.
The separation became apparent when Jewett’s name was removed from Scott’s profile on the Giving Pledge website, a campaign that encourages billionaires to donate at least half of their fortune over their lifetimes.
Last year, the ex-couple announced their decision to donate Scott’s riches, which is mostly the result of her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, on the website.
Scott, who had a 4 percent ownership in Amazon following her divorce from Bezos after 25 years of marriage, rose to become one of the wealthiest women in the world.
According to CEO Kristen Garcia-Hernandez, the Girl Scout council in Southern Arizona opted to utilize the $1.4 million it got from Scott to improve the job they are currently doing rather than launch a new program or project.
We are a tiny council, and we are not located in a significant metropolitan area. Therefore, for us, gifts of this scale don’t occur often. stated Garcia-Hernandez.
With the help of the donation, they can recruit more personnel more quickly and provide programs all year round in the majority of the seven counties they serve.
The council will also complete a project they’ve been trying to finance for a year and a half: outfitting a van as a mobile science and technology school.
According to her, many local donors seem to believe that the Girl Scouts’ cookie sales will pay all of their costs.
“While the cookie program really keeps us afloat and is amazing, and the girls are involved in it, making it even more lovely, we definitely need more from the community,” stated Garcia-Hernandez.
Less than 2% of all contributions are made philanthropically to groups that primarily support women and girls, according to studies.
It was discovered that between the study’s tracking years of 2012 and 2019, the percentage did not change considerably.
Major donations from female philanthropists like Melinda French Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, and Scott, according to Tessa Skidmore, a research associate at the institution, might motivate additional contributors.
These are the kinds of things, she continued, “that may affect that figure.”
On October 11, the International Day of the Girl, the institution collaborated with Pivotal Ventures, the investment company formed by French Gates, and other organizations to encourage contributing to women and girls.
Additionally, it makes its giving data available in the hopes that contributors or academics may use it to assess the gender equality of gifts.
About her generosity, which has totalled $12 billion since 2019, Scott communicates sparingly.
She has made significant, unrestricted grants to a wide range of organizations, but her donations have a particular focus on racial equity.
Scott also gave the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates a record-breaking $275 million this year.
During the pandemic, the Girl Scouts’ membership among young people dropped precipitously, dropping by nearly 30% from roughly 1.4 million in 2019–2020 to just over 1 million in 2021–2022.
Chang recognized the decline but said that the organization’s activities constantly assist females in gaining confidence and addressing issues in their neighborhood.
Because soldiers couldn’t truly meet in person, Chang said that “our customary approach of helping females was greatly upended during the epidemic.”
We’re really listening to our Girl Scouts, their families, and our volunteers to really ensure that what comes next for us is actually effective at this time, so that we can rebuild stronger than we ever have before.
The Girl Scouts want to assist volunteers and staff, strengthen science and technology education for young members, increase camp facilities’ resistance to the effects of climate change, and provide diversity and inclusion programs to make their units more accessible.
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