Mackenzie Scott, one of the world’s wealthiest philanthropists, has once again made a historic donation to a Tampa Bay charity.
Friends of the Children-Tampa Bay has received $1.1 million — its largest single gift ever — as part of Scott’s $44 million donation to its parent organization, Portland, Oregon-based Friends of the Children. The Tampa Bay chapter was one of 12 nationwide to receive its own gift.
“We are honored to receive this historic gift from MacKenzie Scott,” Rick McClintock, the Tampa chapter’s executive director, said in a statement. “We are most excited about what this gift means for the youth we currently serve — many of them impacted by the foster care system — and the many more we will get to serve.”
The $44 million gift includes $15 million for the national office of Friends of the Children, which provides friends and mentors for children in foster care or otherwise impacted by poverty or the criminal justice system. Tampa was the organization’s only chapter in the southeastern United States to receive a donation.
“Long-term, one-on-one relationships between Friends and youth can bring needed stability to a child’s life and open up opportunities for our youth,” Greg Harvey, a mentor at Friends of the Children-Tampa Bay said in a statement. “This incredible gift will support our work with youth and help us piece together a million little victories for them in the face of systemic challenges.”
Scott, formerly the wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has pledged to give her fortune to charity, and over the past few years has made her philanthropic presence known in Tampa Bay. Her local gifts include $20 million for United Way Suncoast; $18.5 million to two local Habitat for Humanity chapters; $10 million for Manasota Goodwill; $4 million for Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee; $3 million for Easterseals Southwest Florida; and $1.5 million for Meals on Wheels of Tampa.
In May, Scott donated $123 million to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is headquartered in Tampa. She’s also made donations to regional chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters and Planned Parenthood.