Two Maine-based nonprofits were among the 286 groups to receive a piece of author MacKenzie Scott’s latest philanthropic effort to support community-centered service organizations, totaling more than $2.7 billion.
The Maine Expansion Arts Fund, based in Ellsworth in Portland, and 317 Main Community Music Center, based in Yarmouth, were on the list of recipients. Scott focused on nonprofit organizations in the United States, she said in a Medium post on Tuesday.
“Over 700 million people globally still live in extreme poverty,” wrote Scott, who is the third-richest woman in the world. “To find solutions, we all benefit from on-the-ground insights and diverse engagement, so we prioritized organizations with local teams, leaders of color, and a specific focus on empowering women and girls.”
The Maine Expansion Arts Fund, which is part of the Maine Community Foundation, received $2.5 million, the organization said in a statement.
“This gift will more than double our annual grant budget,” said Leslie Goode, MCF senior program officer, who manages the arts fund. “In recent years, we have been able to award grants to about half of the deserving proposals, so this will be a boost to those organizations whose good work and ideas would otherwise go unfunded.”
Altogether, Scott donated $2,739,000,000, with the highest concentration of groups being based in California, New York and Massachusetts. The exact amount of money sent to each group was not disclosed in the Medium post.
The latest massive donation comes less than a year after Scott gave $4.2 billion to 384 nonprofit organizations across the country. Coastal Enterprises Inc., a Brunswick-based company that received $10 million, was the only organization from Maine on the list.
Scott, who divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, married chemistry teacher Dan Jewett, a 1994 graduate of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, in March. Following her divorce, Scott received Amazon shares that caused her networth to skyrocket. Currently, her net worth is $59.6 billion.
Instead of the narrative focusing on her enormous donation, the author said she wants people to focus on the work of the groups who are receiving the money.
“People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating,” Scott wrote. “This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all.”