HONOLULU — Friday, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced a $10 million gift to the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. The donation is the largest contribution to HCF’s COVID-19 relief effort to date.
“With the ongoing human and economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the trust and selection of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation by MacKenzie Scott is an incredible gift to our state at the end of a very trying year,” said Micah Kane, president and CEO of HCF.
“Her thoughtful, data-driven approach to giving is a testament to our work and our nonprofit partners relieving the hardships for those hardest hit by this crisis.”
The donation from Scott to the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund of HCF is among $4.2 billion in gifts to 384 organizations across the U.S. over four months, according to her blog post on Medium.
A team of advisors considered 6,490 organizations and undertook deeper research into 822 to select the final organizations.
Scott’s advisors took a data-driven approach to selection, and she notes the type of work being funded in her post: “Some (organizations are) filling basic needs: food banks, emergency-relief funds and support services for those most vulnerable. Others are addressing long-term, systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis.”
As the crisis continues, more Hawai‘i residents who have never experienced hardships are finding themselves in need of support. Hawai‘i has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.
The state’s food-insecurity rate continues to rise in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While Hawai‘i has worked together to contain the virus, the slow return of our economy will continue to pose huge challenges for our state at least through the third quarter of 2021,” said Kane.
Scott listed the hundreds of organizations that received donations, which includes three additional Hawai‘i nonprofits: Goodwill Hawai‘i, YWCA O‘ahu and Meals on Wheels Hawai‘i.
Her approach to sharing the organizations is to inspire other donors to learn about the their work in the community. In 2019, Scott signed the Giving Pledge Initiative, promising to donate the majority of her fortune to charitable causes.
With Scott’s gift, the HRF at the HCF has now accepted over $22 million from over 630 donors to address the human and economic impact of the novel coronavirus in Hawai‘i. The HRF was established with $2 million in mid-March, and has continued to increase over the last several months.
HCF has a unique role in disaster preparedness and response.
The organization collaborates with partners, both inside and outside of philanthropy, including government, disaster-relief organizations, community groups and the private sector, for a coordinated effort and maximum community impact.
From the flooding on the North Shore of Kaua‘i to volcano eruptions on Hawai‘i Island, HCF has demonstrated its ability to grant funds quickly to community organizations filling gaps in response efforts.
Scott was married to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and received millions in their divorce settlement.