‘Largest gift ever’: AC receives $15 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo College has received its “largest gift ever” in the form of $15 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, according to a press release from Amarillo College.

The college stated that the gift was “unsolicited,” making this one of the “largest single disbursements of a gift in the history of the community.”

Scott, who is third on Forbes‘ 2021 list of the world’s wealthiest women, has given money to millions of non-profit and charity organizations, including historically black colleges (HBCUs) and community colleges, the release said.

“This is overwhelming in every sense of the word,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said. “We are equally elated, stunned and gratified by Ms. Scott’s amazing philanthropy. We are not only grateful to Ms. Scott, we are in awe of her.”

“The majority of our students – working women of color with children – live in the war zone of poverty and just need a college and community to systemically love them to success,” Lowery-Hard said. “This gift will ensure that Amarillo College can freely continue to reimagine education and remove even more barriers for students. Ms. Scott’s gift certainly makes our students and our community feel loved.”

The release explained that the money can be used at the “college’s sole discretion,” and has been granted in the wake of another milestone from the college. In May, AC was named one of the top 5 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute and received the 2021 “Rising Star Award.”

“This tremendous gift is confirmation of the transformative work that is being done by Amarillo College, work being recognized nationwide,” said Johnny Mize, chairman of the AC Board of Regents. “Our city and the communities we serve can be proud of what we are doing to prepare our workforce for the future.”

“Ms. Scott’s gift is an incredible affirmation of the work our College has been doing to attract national attention,” Lowery-Hart said. “Obviously, we will be giving a great deal of thought to how we can leverage these funds to help transform and serve our community. We have every intention of exercising prudence and patience in thinking it through.”

Lowery-Hart explained that the college may use the money to “establish an endowment that would generate earnings and benefit the college in perpetuity.”

“We’ll engage the community,” Lowery-Hart said. “We want this gift to benefit the community that we are dedicated to serving. What we do know is this: The mission of Amarillo College will be supported, deepened and extended by these funds.”

Scott today announced gifts totaling more than $2.7 billion to 286 “high-impact” organizations here.

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