MacKenzie Scott gives $15 million grant to South Bronx’s Hostos Community College

MacKenzie Scott is seen at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in Beverly Hills, California
MacKenzie Scott is seen at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in Beverly Hills, California, March 4, 2018. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in a medium post Tuesday she would give $15 million to Hostos Community College making it the third CUNY school to receive a historically large donation from the author in less than a year. 

“This is a day to mark and remember at Hostos,” said interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis. “We are thrilled and delighted by this most beneficent gift, and it will be used to further the goals of the College’s founders. Thanks to Ms. Scott’s astounding gift, we will be able to better serve the men and women of the South Bronx who seek the myriad benefits of higher education. This gift will have a transformative impact on the College and it comes to Hostos because for over 50 years, Hostos has been a beacon of hope, a life-transforming institution, living up to the highest ideals of democratic values, equity, inclusion and diversity.”

In the Medium post, Scott explains that she along with her husband Dan Jewett and a team of researchers spent the first three months of the year identifying “high-impact’ groups and institutions in “categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked,” eventually deciding on 286 institutions and groups to award a total of $2.7 billion. 

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” Scott wrote in the post. 

The award is the largest donation in Hostos Community College history. In December of last year, Lehman College and the Borough of Manhattan Community College were given $30 million each, the largest single donation in either school’s history, by Scott. 

“We are humbled once again by Ms. Scott’s incredible generosity as well as the enlightened principles governing her philanthropy,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, who also served as Hostos president from 2009-2014. “The belief system she outlined in her powerful and incisive essay — that the march toward social equality can only be driven by individuals and institutions working from within communities — aligns with CUNY’s core values and the transformational work of our 25 colleges across the five boroughs. We are deeply grateful once again for this affirmation of the University as an engine for social mobility, academic excellence, affordability and social justice.”