Howard University, Spelman College, Hampton University, Morehouse College, and Tuskegee University College are among more than 100 non-profit institutions selected to receive a generous gift from novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“I would like to thank Ms. MacKenzie Scott for her investment into Howard University and our 153-year mission of serving a diverse community of dynamic scholars who come here for an education and leave here with purpose to serve the world,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “We plan to immediately put this eight-figure gift to good use to support components of our 5-year strategic plan to help students graduate on time, retain our talented faculty, enhance our campus infrastructure and support academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Howard University will allocate the gift to four areas of need, including on-going campus infrastructure improvement projects, such as essential renovations to the steam plant system and updates to improve technology. Howard will implement a new faculty development plan to provide additional educational development opportunities for faculty to increase rigor and quality of instruction, and to promote professional advancement and specialized skills training. Howard will also develop a program focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship to further enhance Howard’s outreach to instill the importance of financial wellness in our campus community.

“MacKenzie Scott’s gift…breaks new philanthropic ground both in scope and in scale. On behalf of the entire Spelman community, I am honored that Spelman College is among the dozens of institutions who are recipients of her gifts,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman. “I know that I speak for the entire Spelman community in stating our admiration for all of the areas she has chosen to fund and for the organizations within each area. We share the values her gifts represent.

“Spelman will allocate its gift toward the goals of its strategic plan, designed to educate global leaders who graduate from Spelman with a competitive edge, prepared to become successful innovators and change agents,” Dr. Campbell continued. 

Now in its fourth year, the plan has as its highest priority the support of Spelman students and faculty. Funding will also go towards the College’s goal of supporting scholarly and creative excellence by bolstering  its technological infrastructure; developing new sources of revenue; promoting curricular innovations that enhance the competitiveness of Spelman students; and improving academic facilities.

“Driven by a deep belief in the value different backgrounds bring to problem-solving on any issue, we selected for diversity in leadership across all categories of giving, supporting vital variety of perspective and experience in solutions on every cause,” said Scott in her announcement today. “Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change.”

Scott has donated close to $1.7 billion in the past year in support of “The Giving Pledge,” launched in 2010 by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to donate a majority of their wealth over their lifetimes.