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Over a dozen LGBTQ nonprofits among recipients of billionaire MacKenzie Scott’s latest donations

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced Tuesday that 361 community-led nonprofits would receive a total of $640 million.
Polly Crozier, GLAD director of family advocacy, gathers with community members at a recent hearing in support of the Massachusetts Parentage Act, which would provide additional legal protections for LGBTQ parents.
Polly Crozier, director of family advocacy for GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, gathers with community members at a recent hearing in support of the Massachusetts Parentage Act, which would provide additional legal protections for LGBTQ parents.GLAD

MacKenzie Scott, a billionaire philanthropist and the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is giving $640 million to hundreds of nonprofit groups, including dozens of organizations that support LGBTQ people. 

Scott announced Tuesday that the 361 community-led nonprofit groups were selected from a pool of more than 6,000 applications received since last year, when she announced that her organization, Yield Giving, was launching an “open call” for nonprofit groups it could fund. The $640 million is more than double the $250 million Scott pledged to fund at the start of the open call.

The nonprofit groups, many of which Scott said “have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles,” were chosen through a peer review process and an evaluation panel “for their outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means,” she said in a statement Tuesday. 

Scott described the recipients as “vital agents of change.”

MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
MacKenzie Scott arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 4, 2018.Evan Agostini / Invision / AP file

Among the chosen groups are dozens that support LGBTQ people and at least 14 LGBTQ-focused nonprofit organizations, including EDGE New Jersey and Carolinas CARE Partnership, which support people living with or at risk of HIV; Gender Justice, a Minnesota-based LGBTQ legal and policy advocacy group; and LGBTQ community centers in Cleveland and the California cities of Sacramento and Long Beach.

Kat Rohn, executive director of OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ advocacy group founded in 1987, said the $2 million it was awarded is larger than its entire annual budget. 

“This has been over a year in the making, and we are just tremendously excited to be one of the recipients and one of a handful of Minnesota groups to be in the recipient pool,” Rohn said.

Rohn added that the organization plans to use some of the funds to support outreach to more rural communities in the state and to its anti-violence program, which provides crisis intervention services, confidential crisis counseling and other advocacy services for LGBTQ victims and survivors of violence and harassment. 

“We’ve been increasingly doing more outreach to Greater Minnesota and to rural communities outside of the Twin Cities metro area, and so being able to really fund travel to those areas, engagement with local organizing groups, and support for services and connections in those spaces is a really important part of how we broaden the message of inclusion and really make sure that folks all across our state are experiencing equity and support wherever they are,” Rohn said.

Yield Giving also awarded $1 million to GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, or GLAD, a national LGBTQ legal advocacy group. Carole Allen-Scannell, GLAD’s director of development, said the funding will help the organization better address the hundreds of bills filed in recent years that target LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youths, by restricting their access to transition-related health care and barring them from playing school sports on the teams that align with their gender identities.

She also said it will also help the group advocate for positive legislation, such as a recently passed bill in Michigan awaiting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature that would ensure children born to LGBTQ parents will have a legal tie to their parents, if, for example, they were conceived through IVF. 

“It’s something that’s going to really empower us to show up where we’re needed and when we’re needed,” Allen-Scannell said of the award.

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