MacKenzie Scott donates $20m to California schools after announcing divorce from teacher husband

MacKenzie Scott at the headquarters of publisher Axel-Springer on April 24, 2018 in Berlin (dpa/AFP via Getty Images)
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Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $20 million to the Fresno Unified School District (FUSD).

In a press conference on Wednesday the school district announced that the money will be used for FUSD’s new Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools, reported The Fresno Bee.

Fresno Superintendent Bob Nelson said that the school district’s “negative self-image” and the city’s high poverty rate made a “tool of privilege” like a foundation seem out of reach.

He said that the mindset that “that’s not something for Fresno” needs to change as it “weaves its way into the hearts of our kids. That’s what has to change.”

Ms Scott, who is the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and a published author, is now the largest donor in Fresno Unified’s history, reported ABC.

According to trustee Valerie Davis, Ms Scott’s donation is “nothing short of a miracle” for all Fresno Unified children.

Wendy McCulley, FUSD’s chief of Engagement and External Partnerships, that oversees the new foundation, as well as a partnerships office said that the district is still deciding on how the funds will be used.

“We will continue to focus on scholarships, but there’s openings for us to do many, many more things now that we have $20 million,” she was quoted as saying.

The donation comes after Fresno Unified announced its “largest single donation ever” last month of $30,000 from Amazon.

After her divorce from Mr Bezos and subsequent status as a billionaire, Ms Scott began rapidly donating portions of her vast wealth to charitable causes.

Last month she filed for divorce from her second husband Dan Jewett.

Also in September, she donated two Beverly Hills homes for a total of $55m.

Ms Scott’s estimated net worth is $37bn. She owns four per cent of Amazon after selling $8.5bn in company stocks earlier this year.

She has so far donated more than $12bn to charitable causes and groups.