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MacKenzie Scott Gives $40M To CSUN, Makes Other Major SoCal Gifts

A brick column with the words: California State University Northridge.
(Chava Sanchez
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More than a dozen Southern California colleges, universities, and nonprofits received a share of more than $2.74 billion given away Tuesday by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Cal State University Northridge received $40 million, the largest gift from a single donor in the university's history. CSUN President Erika Beck called the gift "transformational" and said most of the money will go towards addressing educational equity.

"Then we can also hire people to directly support student success," she said, "but also in data that will help us understand milestones in our students' journey — where they're getting stuck and where we can help them get unstuck to make sure that they all walk across that stage to a life that is forever transformed."

More than 70% of CSUN students are the first in their family to go to college.

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This is the second time Scott has given away a large amount of her wealth to various nonprofits. She became one of the richest women in the world after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

In a Medium post she published Tuesday as the gifts were announced, Scott said she wanted to "de-emphasize privileged voices and cede focus to others."

She went on: "Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role." Referring to her team of advisors, Scott added, "we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change."

Other SoCal recipients of Scott's philanthropy are:

  • Cal State Channel Islands
  • Cal State Fullerton
  • Long Beach City College
  • Pasadena City College
  • Homeboy Industries
  • East West Players
  • A Place Called Home
  • Arts for Healing & Justice Network
  • Asian Pacific Community Fund
  • Cal Poly Pomona
  • Center for Cultural Innovation
  • Chaffey College
  • College of the Desert
  • Japanese American National Museum
  • LA Arts Endowment Fund
  • Santa Barbara City College
  • Self Help Graphics and Art