MacKenzie Scott’s unprecedented giving since 2019 has spurred many conversations on the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. What impact has her giving had on organizations, their ability to accomplish their goals, and their ability to fundraise? Will her giving shape the future of philanthropy in the United States?

Building on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s (CEP) 2022 report, Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits, which examined the experiences of a broad swath of recipients, we at the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) sought to understand how her giving has impacted organizations focused on LGBTQ issues. Especially as LGBTQ communities across the country are facing unprecedented legislative, social, and physical attacks, we find that Scott’s gifts have allowed LGBTQ-focused organizations to increase capacity, respond creatively, and build for the future.

A Pivotal Moment for LGBTQ Organizations

In our new report, Unrestricted and Unprecedented: The Impact of MacKenzie Scott’s Large Gifts on LGBTQ Organizations, we find that large unrestricted gifts empower LGBTQ organizations to pursue new and significant opportunities that have the potential to broaden the movement’s impact. These findings should be understood in light of the current context LGBTQ communities are facing. Across the country LGBTQ people are under siege from a targeted and coordinated campaign to undermine equality and ultimately erase us from public life, as outlined in MAP’s report series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America. More than 725 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in 2023 alone, many of them targeting transgender children.

This is a pivotal moment to invest effectively in the organizations working to douse the flames of the attacks on LGBTQ people overall, and transgender people specifically. The speed, quantity, breadth, and vitriol of these attacks have been increasing since 2019, and yet a recent analysis of foundation giving from 2021 shows that for every $100 foundations gave, LGBTQ organizations received 28 cents, or 0.28 percent of the total funds. Too much is at stake for this deficit to persist. This wave of attacks is having adverse effects on the LGBTQ community and reverberates throughout society. In the midst of a hostile political climate, MAP’s Unrestricted and Unprecedented report finds that MacKenzie Scott’s large gifts to LGBTQ organizations demonstrates how bold giving can increase the movement’s impact.

The Impact of MacKenzie Scott’s Big Gifts 

Between 2020 and 2022 MacKenzie Scott gave $163 million to the 28 LGBTQ-focused organizations included in MAP’s report. (Public information was not available for an additional seven LGBTQ organizations that received Scott gifts.) The majority of these gifts (39 percent) were between $1-2 million, with $1 million as the lowest gift level and the highest gift being $34 million.

MAP’s survey and analysis show that the unrestricted nature of Scott’s gifts has allowed organizations to plan for the future as well as broaden their impact and capacity in this current moment. LGBTQ organizations that received Scott gifts utilized this flexibility to make critical investments in their staff and operational capacity, expand programing, and increase long-term financial stability.

Read the full article about MacKenzie Scott’s gifts to LGBTQ organizations by Tessa Juste at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.