MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author and former wife of Jeff Bezos, donated $16 million to Grand Prarie ISD. GPISD is the first school district in Texas to be given a donation from Scott.
On November 3, GPISD announced on Facebook that they recently found out about the large donation. Scott is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $26.7 billion. She divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019 and ended up with a 25% stake in Amazon. During that time, Scott signed a Giving Pledge, vowing to give away at least half of her wealth over the course of her lifetime.
“This donation will help us work toward our goal of providing the best education for all students in GPISD,” GPISD Superintendent of School Linda Ellis said. “We are truly grateful and humbled on behalf of our students and staff.”
NBCDFW reported that Ellis initially thought the donation was a scam when she first saw an email several weeks ago and “shrugged it off.” She later was notified about the legitimacy of the donation when she received a phone call and Scott’s name was mentioned.
“I’ve never dreamed a public school could get this kind of a gift,” Ellis said. “It’s too good to be true. But it’s true and it’s gonna be great for years to come for our children and community.”
The use of the funds has not yet been determined by the district’s Board of Trustees, but the money could be used for additional staffing and enhanced programs. But the gift was “unrestricted,” which means that the board has no limit on what the money can be used for.
“I believe the work we’re doing in Grand Prairie ISD is aligned with Ms. Scott’s philosophy of giving,” Ellis said. “While this isn’t something we applied for, or sought out, we are truly grateful and humbled on behalf of our students and staff.”
Scott has not said why she chose GPISD or how she determined the amount.