MacKenzie Scott, a novelist and philanthropist, has donated $25M to Mississippi’s Alcorn State University. This is the largest single donation that the HBCU has received in the school’s 149-year history. Scott was once married to Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.
“This gift is truly transformational and we are humbled by Ms. Scott’s generosity,” said Felecia M. Nave, the President of Alcorn. “It will more than double the size of our endowment. The gift will allow the University to enhance its academic offerings and make much-needed investments to continue Alcorn’s mission as the nation’s first public, historically black, land-grant university.”
Scott is known for her generosity—she has donated $6 billion to various U.S.-based initiatives in 2020 alone. According to the New York Times, Scott donated two-thirds of that amount over the past 4 months, often giving to charities that assist with assuring people have basic necessities. In her giving, she has focused specifically focused on “those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” as documented in a Medium post she wrote on December 15.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott’s kindness is much-needed. It also came at the perfect time for the HBCU.
“As the University embarks on an extensive five-year strategic plan, this gift could not come at a more opportune time,” said Alcorn’s President Nave in a public statement. “The University has a long and rich tradition of educating the best and brightest and preparing graduates for a lifetime of success. This extraordinary gift recognizes the institution’s longstanding commitment to providing access to affordable and equitable educational opportunities.”
Nave also discussed the importance of Scott’s donation, as many of Alcorn’s undergraduates are first-generation college students. “A significant number of Alcorn’s students are the first in their families to attend college, she said. “Ms. Scott’s pivotal gift in these uncertain times will help ensure that students have access to a life-changing education.”
Scott has also donated to the following HBCU’s: Bowie State University ($25M), Claflin University ($20M), Clark Atlanta University ($15M), Delaware State University ($20M), Dillard University ($5M), Elizabeth City State University ($15M), Lincoln University Pennsylvania ($20M), Morgan State University ($40M), Norfolk State University ($40M),
North Carolina A&T State University ($45M), Prairie View A&M University ($50M),
Tougaloo College (unknown amount), University of Maryland at Eastern Shore ($20M), Virginia State University ($30M), Voorhees College (unknown amount) and
Winston-Salem State University ($30M).
Alcorn University was founded in 1871 and was the first Black land grant college in the United States. Famous alumni of the HBCU include civil rights activist Medgar Evers and Roots: The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X author Alex Haley.