Jeff Bezos’ Ex-Wife MacKenzie Scott Donates $133.5 Million to Communities in Schools

Axel Springer Awards, Berlin, Germany - 24 Apr 2018
People Picture / Willi Schneider /

In a feel-good bit of recent news, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has reportedly donated $133.5 million to Communities In Schools (CIS), financing the largest unrestricted donation the organization has ever received.

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“Today is an important day for students who are underserved, under-resourced, and in need of transformative support to build a brighter future,” Rey Saldaña, president and CEO of Communities In Schools, said of the donation. “This unrestricted gift allows us to combat the inequities in public education and reimagine the way schools operate and show up for all students. Our national goal is to bring our model inside of every one of the 70,000 Title I-eligible schools in the country; currently, we operate in 3,000 schools — so we still have a long way to go, and we will need ongoing support to get there.”

According to a press release, this investment will help CIS carry out its mission to break down systemic barriers that stand in the way of opportunity and student success.

“Over the next five years, CIS seeks to scale its evidence-based model of integrated student supports to reach more schools and serve more students while deepening and sustaining its existing commitments to achieve broader impact across its affiliated network,” the press release reads, in part.

CIS operations involve 40 affiliates in 19 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

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“With the pandemic continuing to interrupt public education and students’ lives, the work of Communities In Schools has never been more important,” Elaine Wynn, chairman of the CIS board of directors, said of the organization’s efforts. “This generous gift will allow us to provide thousands more students with a significantly improved educational experience and the help they need to graduate from high school and go on to rewarding lives.”

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CIS has staff working inside schools to help students in grades K-12 navigate issues and move beyond barriers in the classroom, at home, and in the community. The organization coordinates with schools and local service providers to meet the needs of students and families, and provides critical resources — like food, housing, healthcare, counselling, access to remote technology, and more — so that students (and educators) can focus on academics.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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