MacKenzie Scott awards $4 million to Boston children’s health nonprofit


The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality is set to receive its largest donation ever.

MacKenzie Scott awards $4 million to Boston children's health nonprofit
Then-MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The megadonor and novelist announced almost $2 billion in donations to 343 organizations in a short blog post Monday, Nov, 14, 2022, emphasizing her interest in supporting people from underserved communities. Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, spends much of her time donating her fortune to organizations across the country. For Scott, whose net worth is estimated to be more than $34 billion according to Forbes, a few million dollars is not that significant. But for one Boston-based nonprofit a gift of that size is monumental. 

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality is now set to receive one of Scott’s numerous donations. The organization, which works to improve children’s healthcare across the country and expand access to healthcare for communities of color, will receive $4 million from Scott to further their mission, The Boston Globe reported. 

It is the largest donation that NICHQ has received in its 23-year history. This far surpasses the second-largest gift to NICHQ, which amounted to $100,000. 

Scott announced that she was donating to NICHQ in a recent blog post, listing the Boston nonprofit alongside hundreds of other organizations that will receive pieces of her fortune. Over the last seven months, Scott said she gave about $1.9 billion to 343 organizations that support “the voices and opportunities of people from underserved communities.” 

Scott said that she and her team have worked to give money to more than 1,200 organizations in total, and that details about each group will soon be compiled in an interactive database. Scott announced in 2019 that she would incrementally give her billions away. Bezos made a similar announcement this month. 

The $4 million gift amounts to about half of NICHQ’s annual budget, according to the Globe

“Like most nonprofits, we are sometimes scraping to get by,” Scott O’Gorman, chairman of the NICHQ board, told the paper. “This money gives us breathing space. We have a moment to stand back and look at the big picture about what NICHQ wants to achieve.”

Leaders of NICHQ were initially contacted by the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consultancy, in June. Bridgespan represented an anonymous donor, and told NICHQ representatives to assemble information on its mission and accomplishments for a meeting, the Globe reported. 

At a virtual meeting, NICHQ leaders detailed their work, highlighting the expansion of infant screenings in multiple states, the promotion of safe sleep for babies, and the improvement of sickle cell disease treatment, according to the Globe. Scott’s donors then asked about how NICHQ combats systemic racism and healthcare inequity. 

The nonprofit waited months without any word. But president and CEO Scott Berns got confirmation of the gift in October, and the funds were transferred on Nov. 1. 

No final decisions have been made, but NICHQ could use the money for operational costs, subscriptions to medical journals, licenses for data analysis software, matching employees’ retirement contributions, and funding a new program that studies the impact of workplace bias in healthcare organizations, the Globe reported. 

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