VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY, VA – Virginia State University (VSU) has received the largest single donor gift in the 138-year history of the University, $30 million from MacKensie Scott. Scott is an author, philanthropist, and the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Virginia State University says the funds will be used to continue to transform lives through education as the University works to fulfill its mission and the tenets of the University’s new strategic plan. The gift will provide broader opportunities focusing on a holistic approach to academic excellence and student success and engagement while emphasizing leadership and professional development, career planning, and experiential learning.
“Ms. Scott’s legacy and generosity will touch the lives of Virginia State University students for years to come,” says VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “Thanks to her investment in VSU, a generation of students who are living through the challenges of a pandemic, a social justice movement, and reduced scholarship funding will have additional resources as they continue to pursue their dreams of a world class education at Virginia State University.”
Ms. Scott is named by Forbes magazine as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women for 2020. Earlier this year, she also gifted four other HBCUs record donations. She has donated roughly $1.67 billion to more than 100 non-profit organizations over the past year. “I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis,” says Ms. MacKenzie Scott. “They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results.”
“This gift speaks volumes to the caliber of work that Dr. Abdullah, his administration, the faculty, staff, and students are doing at VSU,” says Mr. Huron F. Winstead, Rector of the VSU Board of Visitors. “We are deeply grateful and humbled by this significant gift. Ms. Scott is a shining example of how allies can leverage their wealth to create change through their businesses, non-profits and philanthropic work.”