$15 Million Gifted to CI by Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

$15 Million Gifted to CI by Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

By Ariel Butler

CI received its largest donation to date on June 15, 2021 with a $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett. Interim President Richard Yao stated that the donation was “in recognition of our campus commitment to equity and inclusion, the social mobility of our students, and our overall contribution to the greater good of our communities, region, and nation.”

Scott’s commitment to reallocating her fortune includes an initiative granting nearly $3 billion to 286 organizations that, according to Scott, “have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”

In Scott’s blog post titled “Seeding by Ceding,” she stated her belief that “it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands,” and that one motivation for her and her husband’s generous donation was in alignment with an attempt “to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change.”

Scott placed no restrictions as to how the money will be used, trusting Interim President Yao and the campus community to effectively carry out her initiative. In CI’s official news release from June 15, Interim President Yao called the gift transformational and said he will use the donation to carry out presidential priorities, including closing the equity gap, increasing student retention and graduation rates and improving the level of equity and inclusion within the community.

Scott’s decision to grant CI this gift came from recognition of the university’s commitment to providing a high level of education to all. Thus, the donation will be used to assist this commitment.

Many CI students come from low-income or underrepresented backgrounds: 54.5% are eligible for the Pell Grant, and 58.2% come from Historically Underrepresented Groups, according to CI’s official spring 2021 enrollment data. In the blog post, Scott also recognized the importance of empowering people, she wrote, “People working to build power from within communities are the agents of change. . . Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity.”

With her gift, the University will uphold presidential priorities, paving a path to success for all students by closing the equity gap and increasing opportunities for historically underrepresented student populations.

While the University still has not fully outlined how the gift will be utilized to reach these goals, The CI View will continue to update its readers as the story develops.

2 thoughts on “$15 Million Gifted to CI by Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

  1. If CSUCI really wants to increase student retention and graduation rates, they should help some those students in our community who don’t qualify for financial aid or any government help. The non-traditional students which include working parents that have gone back to school to finish up a degree or program. How about helping students with tuition costs in forms of grants with that generous donation. I would love to be able to qualify for some help instead of having to pay for everything out of pocket, support a family, and pay a mortgage.

  2. As a CI student I tried my best to find answers on how this donation would be utilized and whether or not any portion of the donation would be allocated for direct financial assistance to students? To my surprise no one was able to really give a clear answer. This is important especially when there are many students who are in need (especially those of us who are pursuing a teacher credential and required to student teach four days a week 8-4 without compensation or mileage) and buildings that are in desperate need of repair. I would hate to imagine any portion of this donation being misused or mismanaged. I am curious why and how CI has yet to determine how this donation will be utilized when this donation took place at the beginning of the summer. We are now in October….. I hope you continue to “press”!

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