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CEP Releases New Research on the Impact of MacKenzie Scott’s Big Giving

Date: November 15, 2022

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Media contact: Grace Nicolette, Vice President, Programming and External Relations |

Cambridge, MA — Recipients of MacKenzie Scott’s unusually large gifts say the funding has been transformative for their organizations. They report that they’re using the unrestricted money to expand their core work while also shoring up their financial sustainability and addressing operational capacity, and that the support was more likely to strengthen their fundraising efforts than to cause other funders to pull back.

Those are among the findings of the most comprehensive look yet at the nonprofits receiving gifts from Scott, who has given nearly $13 billion to nonprofit organizations across the country as of spring 2022. In a break from traditional philanthropic practice, her gifts are accompanied by few reporting requirements and impose almost no limitations on the use of the funds.

In the first report in a three-year study on Scott’s giving, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) analyzed data from 277 nonprofit leaders whose organizations have been recipients of Scott’s giving and conducted in-depth interviews with 40 of these organizations’ leaders. The median grant size was $8 million. For 88 percent of responding organizations, this was the largest unrestricted grant ever received.

Notably, more than 80 percent of nonprofit leaders surveyed believe this grant will significantly strengthen their organization’s ability to achieve its mission. In particular, leaders noted that the grant will enable their organization to pursue opportunities that are often difficult to fundraise for, including equity and justice work.

Furthermore, while some in the philanthropic sector have speculated about the potential for negative unintended consequences of these gifts, from a lack of recipients’ “absorptive capacity” to difficulties fundraising after public announcement of the gift, few leaders report that their organization has encountered major challenges to date because of the grant — nor have they had difficulty deciding how to spend the funds.

About the Center for Effective Philanthropy

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide data, feedback, programs, and insights to help individual and institutional donors improve their effectiveness. We do this work because we believe effective donors, working collaboratively and thoughtfully, can profoundly contribute to creating a better and more just world. For more information on CEP’s work, including its research, assessments, advisory services, and programming, visit

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