The American Indian Graduate Center is among the non-profits benefiting from a major philanthropic effort by writer MacKenzie Scott. The donation given by Scott, ex-wife to Amazon CEO, billionaire Jeff Bezos, is an unprecedented $20-million in unrestricted funds. It’s part of 1.7 billion-dollars in total contribution to 116 non-profits. Scott said in a announcement on Twitter that the contribution was “following up on a commitment [she] made last year to give away a majority of [her] wealth in [her] lifetime.” She continued in a post via Medium of the non-profits selected that, “every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are just immensely grateful to be a recipient of this incredible generosity,” said AIGC Executive Director Angelique Albert. “We’re really honored that she’s that she’s trusting us to do the work that promotes equity and justice in our society at the time.”
AIGC is the largest scholarship provider to Native American and Alaska Native students for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Albert says students were hit hard last spring, enough for the organization to create a designated Student Emergency Fund that started in March. So far, the additional fund has distributed over $200,000 for emergency needs because of the pandemic.
“COVID is still impacting our communities and our students are having a hard time,” Albert said. “They still are having a hard time. So, going back to school has created additional challenges because some universities are doing remote, but some are not.”
Heading into the fall semester, Albert says funds will address student needs covering housing, utilities, and household items costs, along with technology access. Scott’s donation is the largest individual donor gift in unrestricted funds over AIGC’s 50-year history. The Solutions Journalism Network, who funds this reporting, was also included in Scott’s non-profit donations.
This story is a collaboration with National Native News and the Solutions Journalism Network