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Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $11M to Brooklyn’s Ascend charter schools

Scott is ‘notoriously’ secretive about gifting selection, saying that she focuses on high-impact selection process

November 2, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott has donated $11 million to the Ascend charter school system in Brooklyn. Ascend will use the gift to open up new facilities in central and east Brooklyn: Flatbush, Cypress Hills and Brownsville.

Scott’s donation process is extremely selective. A statement sent to the Eagle Wednesday referenced a Medium post authored by Scott describing that “we invest extra time and money to elevate high-impact teams with leadership from the communities they’re serving.”

Scott is the former wife of billionaire Jeff Bezos.

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According to PIX11, Ascend was not aware of the gift at the time it was presented, the school announced last Tuesday. The money cleared their accounts.

Scott’s donation also enables Ascend to take in more than 1,000 additional students, expanding the student population to 7,000 by 2027, focusing long-term strategy on its connection to the Brooklyn community.

Over 98 percent of students at Ascend are Black or Latino, and the school system specializes in a unique curriculum that “promotes empathy by adopting a curriculum focused on providing students windows into the realities of others and mirrors that reflect their own lives.”

“Scott is recognizing what I saw the very first day I walked into Ascend,” said Recy Benjamin Dunn, Chief Executive Officer in a statement Wednesday. “We believe having a high bar, joyful classrooms and embedding diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism are not mutually exclusive tenets. They are hard to do together, but it is what sets us apart.”


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