MacKenzie Scott Donates $84.5 Million to the Girl Scouts of the USA

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Journey Mou

Girl Scouts of Travis Ranch Elementary School in 2019.

Journey Mou, Photojournalist

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) on Tuesday, October 18. For the 110-year-old organization, this donation was the largest individual donation from one person since its opening in 1912. The money went to both the Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of their local branches, Orange County Girl Scouts included in the components. The funds will be primarily used to combat the dropped memberships during the pandemic.

 

The Girl Scout branch of Orange County received $2.8 million from Scott’s donation. Her donation is the equivalent of 560,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies (OC Register). The Girl Scouts of Orange County CEO Vikki Shepp said that this donation would help increase their attempts to bring scouting to places with less access and provide girls with educational programs and activities they will enjoy. They also want to rent out space in Santa Ana for the program, as they don’t have a facility there yet. One of the big events in Girl Scouts in Orange County is Camp Scherman. The donation will create new opportunities to expand what the camp has to offer, including more money going toward hiking and boating trips, new horse corrals, a zip line, and an outdoor amphitheater for activities involving astronomy (The Orange County Register).

 

The GSUSA will additionally use the donation to “support volunteers and staff, make camp properties more resistant to the impacts of climate change, improve science and technology education for youth members and develop diversity and inclusion programming to make their troops more accessible.” The money also allows them to have programming year-round and hire more staff to expand their programs.

 

MacKenzie Scott is the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the richest people alive (Forbes). Married for twenty-five years and parents of four children, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott’s divorce was finalized in July 2019. MacKenzie Scott divorced Jeff Bezos because Bezos was secretly dating Lauren Sanchez while in the marriage with Scott. MacKenzie Scott’s wealth mostly comes from her divorce settlement, 25 percent of Amazon’s stock. This “gave her a 4 percent stake in the company, amounting to a huge $35.6 billion” and is one of the most expensive divorces of all time (HitC). 

I’m impressed that someone would be willing to give such a huge donation to us.”

— Mikayla Wang

After gaining her shares in Amazon, Scott signed the Giving Pledge and committed to giving at least half of her wealth to charity and has given away around $12 billion so far (CBS News). According to CBS News, less than 2% of all donations are for women and girls. MacKenzie Scott’s donation could inspire others to support females and the community in general. Mikayla Wang (9), a Girl Scout of Orange County shares, “I’m impressed that someone would be willing to give such a huge donation to us.” MacKenzie Scott’s donation of $84.5 million will impact the Girl Scout community for years to come, improving it and providing ways so every girl has an opportunity to be a scout.