Durham public schools getting $18 million grant from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

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Thursday, November 17, 2022
Billionaire gifts $18 million grant to Durham Public Schools
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Durham Public Schools will receive an $18 million grant from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools announced Tuesday that it will receive an $18 million grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott through the National Philanthropic Trust.

According to DPS, the grant is to support students and schools in Durham.

"Ms. Scott's recent gifts to public and charitable organizations have been focused on fostering equity, opportunity, and achievement for American communities," Dr. Pascal Mubenga, Superintendent of Durham Public Schools said in a release. "We are pleased and humbled that Ms. Scott has taken note of DPS's commitment to embrace, educate, and empower each student."

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education will work with Durham Public Schools to prioritize the way the funds will be spent.

"This investment is a one time gift. it is unprecedented in our time that we've had Durham Public Schools so we want to be really thoughtful about what we do with the funding," DPS board member Bettina Umstead said. "There's not often a time where you get unrestricted funds...Often times are funds are earmarked for certain responsibilities whether that's for staff, operations, for COVID response recently. So this really gives us an opportunity to think creatively."

"I want to thank Ms. Scott for witnessing and supporting the great work of DPS educators and staff to support students and families," said Bettina Umstead, Chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education. "We will focus on using this to enhance our work with schools that will ignite the limitless potential of our students."

Scott, who is the divorced from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated almost $2 billion across more than 300 organizations in 2022.

In 2020, Scott donated $90 million to three North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).