MacKenzie Scott gave $85 million to the Girl Scouts, the largest donation they’ve received

My son was talking to me about Adam Ruins Everything’s episode on how there are no good billionaires the other day. I had no problem agreeing with him, but I wish I’d remembered MacKenzie Scott in that moment. Because I really do think she’s one of the good ones. She pledged to donate her fortune like her male counterparts. However, while her male counterparts are donating their money to foundations they formed, which affords them tax credits and dividends, MacKenzie is putting money into established organizations and letting them decide how to spend it. Her latest donation is very close to my heart. She donated almost $85M to the Girl Scouts of America, the largest donation they’ve received from an individual.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local branches, the 110-year-old organization said Tuesday, calling it a vote of confidence.

“Her support of our organization means honestly just as much as the donation,” Sofia Chang, CEO of GSUSA, said in an interview.

It’s the largest donation the Girl Scouts have received from an individual since their founding in 1912, she said. The funds will help the organization recover from the impact of the pandemic, which drove down membership. The Girl Scouts plan 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.

“While the cookie program sustains us certainly and it’s wonderful and the girls are part of that process, which makes it even more beautiful, we certainly need more from the community,” Garcia-Hernandez said.

Philanthropic giving to organizations that specifically serve women and girls represents less than 2% of all donations, according to a research project of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The institute found that proportion has not changed significantly between 2012 and 2019, the years the study has tracked.

[From NPR]

To clear up anyone unfamiliar, Girl Scouts of America is not the same association as Boy Scouts of America. GSA has an excellent inclusion record. They’ve been praised by the LGBTQ community and went on record as standing with BLM. I am so jazzed about this donation because each branch addresses the needs of the girls in its community. As the article said, the cookie program is the main source of income for most branches. And not all communities have the money to purchase cookies in the quantities that can make a huge impact. So by MacKenzie giving donations to 29 branches, they will be able to support the programs they need for the girls they represent. MacKenzie just gets this so right, she’s such an inspiration.

I was a Brownie and then a Girl Scout and then a Girl Scout leader. And that was a decade before I had my own kids. I have a lot of respect for the organization. I mean, I’m a little peeved they’d single MacKenzie out for her donation when I know I have spent at least that amount on Samoas and Thin Mints but whatever. *adds Butt Hurt badge to sash* I’m over it.

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34 Responses to “MacKenzie Scott gave $85 million to the Girl Scouts, the largest donation they’ve received”

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  1. dina says:

    She seems like such as wonderful person – I wish every billionaire would do these things

    Also: “I mean, I’m a little peeved they’d single MacKenzie out for her donation when I know I have spent at least that amount on Samoas and Thin Mints but whatever. *adds Butt Hurt badge to sash* I’m over it” HAHAHAA you crack me up.

  2. Becks1 says:

    In their limited defense, BSA is really trying to be better – they accept both boys and girls now, they’ve toned down the religious stuff significantly, and they are really trying to make inclusivity their “thing.” I was a girl scout most of my life and now I’m a damn BSA leader (I don’t like it LOL but that’s because its just way too much on my plate.)

    Anyway I think this is a great donation, I like that she gave some of the money to individual troops so they can benefit more from scouting without being so reliant on fundraising. In general we’re seeing that when schools or organizations are reliant on fundraising, it just creates more of a “haves vs have-nots” situation, since so much of the fundraising just comes from the parents and the community. So I think giving so much to the organization but also individual troops (if I’m understanding it correctly) is really great.

    • Millennial says:

      I’ll join you in somewhat defending at least the individual cub and boy scout troops. In my experience, the packs/troops are led at the hyper local level, so experiences can vary from pack to pack. Our pack has lots of progressive members, meets at a progressive/inclusive church, etc… there is definitely room for improvement, but I’m all for getting kids outside, involved in the local community, volunteering, etc… BSA is not perfect, but I like our pack community.

    • SKE says:

      Have to agree that although I recognize the awful past of the BSA, I am currently in leadership for my kids troop and the leaders are so vigilant and focused on the children and their safety and making them better people. It definitely varies from troop to troop but we have seen nothing but good things from ours so far and I hope that speaks to changing mores across the organization.

    • DK says:

      I’m glad to hear current BSA leaders saying they’ve changed for the better, sincerely, since as a bystander (and former GS, current GS troop leader, and GS parent), it sure seemed to me that BSA only cleaned up their exclusionary, homophobic, transphobic, super-problematic-in-lots-of-ways act because they went bankrupt and were forced to change their model and include girls, etc., just to survive.

      So, (sincerely!) hearing from BSA leaders that these changes feel legit and lasting is very encouraging!

  3. FHMom says:

    An acquaintance of mine worked for them. She thought they were an awful organization and couldn’t wait to move on. Her previous job was for a pharmaceutical company. I will try to get more details, but it left me with a bad impression.

    • Southern Fried says:

      I bet it’s because so few parents are willing to help out. That’s what I found out with my kids. There’s only a handful of the same parents that work with any children’s group who are willing to pitch in. My mom, a huge volunteer told me this when I was pregnant with my first child and I’ve found it to be true.

      • mia girl says:

        It’s so true! I volunteered to be “cookie mom” one year for my daughter’s GS troop of 24 elementary aged girls and then kept doing it for years because no other parents would take it on. The troop leaders already did so much, I felt I had to keep it going.

      • Becks1 says:

        this is what I’m finding with our scout organization and just school stuff in general. Its the same group of parents who help out. Our pack is growing, great! The volunteer numbers aren’t growing though, so its more work for the volunteers that are involved. And then people complain bc they want to do X activity or Y activity and they don’t know why this OTHER group is doing it and I’m like….because they have more volunteers to help out?

        But, I’m also the bitchy mom who will say, “well if you want to do that, then you can find out the information and organize it and be in charge of it and then we can do it.” I guess that’s not bitchy in itself, but my tone definitely can be, LOL.

    • Cheesus says:

      I currently work for them as a program director – other than being woefully understaffed and underfunded, it’s been a fantastic org to be a part of.

      I can’t speak to your friends bad experience.

    • Concern Fae says:

      The non profit world can have all sorts of problems and can attract people who think that doing good means they are good people. Sad you friend ran into a corner of Girl Scouting where someone like that was in charge.

      Or is she working for the Heritage Scouts now? Went to Mass at the church we went to as a kid. It’s now one of those very right wing Catholic churches. They have a Heritage Scouts troop, which is for the unwoke girls. Had to seriously laugh. Good on Girl Scouts for refusing to bend to the culture warriors. They correctly see that this is all based in misogyny.

  4. Liz Version 700k says:

    My goodness Mackenzie Scott is amazing. She does her homework and gets it right! Also, these pics are so funny. Jeff married up and then traded so so down. I love how she has lived her life post divorce on her terms and genuinely trying to help.

  5. Southern Fried says:

    Love this! Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization especially in communities where there is little to offer girls.

  6. Peanut Butter says:

    I admire MacKenzie Scott so much. After reading about the Liz Truss mess, remembering Chrissy T’s horrific trolling of a child, and seeing Dame Judi be a mouthpiece for whiner KCIII and Camilla, it’s even more of a pleasure to read about MacKenzie’s wonderful work.

  7. Isabel says:

    I know this sounds sour but can she give more money to voting rights organizations please? The whole point is that billionaires/superrich shouldn’t exist at all and philanthropy is just whitewashing that bit.

    • Twin Falls says:

      It does seem ungrateful to say, and I appreciate her targeted giving, but protecting voting rights seems paramount.

      • DK says:

        I agree protecting voting rights is incredibly important!

        I will also say, she donates to some organizations, and the public never hears about it. She has donated to organizations that multiple friends of mine work for (different friends at different organizations), and while some put out press releases, some choose to keep the fact of her donating private, since they fear knowing she has made a huge donation might discourage others (e.g. “Oh, they just got a ton of money, they don’t need my donation this year,” etc.).

        So all this to say: 1) she doesn’t insist on press for her donations, so you know she is sincere about the organizations she chooses to donate to and her philanthropy, regardless of her recognition (Just another kudos for her, I’m not saying you suggested otherwise!); and
        2) we don’t necessarily know all the organizations to which she has donated.

  8. lucy2 says:

    This is wonderful! I really enjoy hearing about her donations, and admire the way she is going about them. I wasn’t a GS myself, but friends were, and I know a few kids now who are and go to the summer camps. I hope the money is spent well and benefits many, many girls.

    Also, we need some pics of Ms. Scott without that dude.

    • lucy2 says:

      Just wanted to add, there’s Troop 6000, which is for girls living in the NY shelter system, and you can support them at cookie time, or donate anytime.

  9. HeyKay says:

    She is the only person with huge wealth that is doing good things.
    Billionaires across the globe, take note and do some good works too.

  10. Elizabeth M says:

    As a former Girl Scout, and current Cub Scout leader–GSA is the Gay Straight Alliance which is a nonprofit run at middle school, high school, and college levels.

    GSUSA–Girl Scouts of the United States of America

    BSA is now co/ed and inclusive. We’ve overhauled the vetting process for adults, and the “Duty to God” requirements are done at a family level. I tell my scouts I don’t care if they worship Netflix and Potatoes, as long as their parent signs off–they get the award.

    • Becks1 says:

      this is what I do LOL. I literally say to my parents, just tell me you completed it, and i’m marking it off, I don’t care beyond that.

  11. Drea says:

    I don’t think she’s one of the good ones. There are no good ones.

    However, she’s doing good now, and that I appreciate.

    I will eat crow and change my mind if she donates herself down into a millionaire (and not a hundreds millionaire either).

    Becoming a billionaire is literally predicated on the exploitation of millions of people. That money is built on the backs of the impoverished worldwide.

    • Delphine says:

      Yes Bezos did exploit his workers to get where he is. But she’s clearly trying to make amends with her share of the wealth.

  12. Joanna says:

    She is an amazing woman

  13. Delphine says:

    I was a Brownie and Junior Scout too! And Samoas/Caramel Delights and Thin Mints are the BEST. I love her for doing this.

  14. Ravensdaughter says:

    According to CNBC, this donation will completely transform the Girl Scouts:

    I am troubled that her foundation is short handed. With her fortune, there’s no excuse. Maybe someone needs to just tell her.

  15. Sms says:

    I really, really admire her philanthropy. She’s funds established local organizations, doesn’t feel compelled to brand them with her name, doesn’t make the organizations jump through hoops for funds and trusts them to know best how to use the funds.