Two Minnesota Arts Groups Receive Funds in MacKenzie Scott’s Latest Donation
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos vasilis asvestas / Shutterstock.com

Two Minnesota Arts Groups Receive Funds in MacKenzie Scott’s Latest Donation

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced another $2.7 billion in donations.
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos vasilis asvestas / Shutterstock.com

Two Minnesota arts groups are among the recipients of another major donation from billionaire MacKenzie Scott.

Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest and the St. Paul-based Penumbra Theater received a share of a $2.7 billion donation to nonprofits around the world. In a Medium post on Tuesday, Scott said that 286 organizations received money in the latest round.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, noted that the chosen groups received “relatively large gifts,” though she didn’t specify exactly how much. For the latest round of giving, Scott said she and her team evaluated arts organizations from “culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook.”

In an email, Arts Midwest president and CEO Torrie Allen said his organization is “honored and humbled to receive this support.”

“As stewards of this gift, we will direct this funding toward activities that advance our commitment to equity, support innovation in and beyond our organization, and build a resilient and sustainable infrastructure for our work across the region,” he said. “At this time we are not accepting inquiries or proposals around the use of these funds.”

Tuesday’s announcement marks the third major donation from Scott. In December 2020, Scott announced $4.5 billion in gifts, including millions for several Minnesota organizations. She gave another round of donations in July that same year. According to Forbes, Scott’s net worth is still valued at $60 billion.

There will likely be more rounds of donations to come. In her post, Scott said it would be better if “disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands.”

“I want to de-emphasize privileged voices and cede focus to others, yet I know some media stories will focus on wealth,” she wrote.

In 2019, Scott pledged to give back the majority of her wealth to “the society that helped generate it.”

It’s also not entirely clear how Scott and her team evaluated the organizations. There doesn’t appear to be a formal application for the grants, for instance. And her late 2020 donations caught many Minnesota groups by surprise. “We had no previous contact with MacKenzie Scott or her team,” one nonprofit exec told TCB last year.