Santa Barbara City College announced on June 15 that it received a $20 million gift from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
The $20 million will go toward funding various campus initiatives and programs, and it will help the college contend with a stark decline in its enrollment as a result of the financial stress families are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Geoff Green, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Foundation CEO, Scott gave the gift to the university around a month ago and gave the university full discretion in how to use the funds.
Scott, who divorced Jeff Bezos in 2019 and this year gave away $2.7 billion of her estimated $60 billion fortune, wrote in a post that the intention of her donations was to fund organizations addressing “discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities,” so that they can continue their work of “bridging divides through interfaith support and collaboration.”
SBCC President Utpal K. Goswami thanked Scott for the donation and wrote in a press release that the gift would be instrumental in enacting the community college’s new educational master plan.
“I would like to thank MacKenzie Scott for the trust that has been placed in us. This visionary gift could not have come at a better time, as we are embarking on the creation of our new Educational Master Plan. These funds will empower us to implement transformational initiatives that will shape our community college of the future and provide the margin of excellence that we seek,” Goswami said.
Green wrote in the press release that he hopes the donation will send a larger message about the instrumental role community colleges can play in addressing systemic inequities within communities.
“Our hope is that it will serve as a signal to other donors and highlight the fact that community colleges are perhaps the best tool we have for increasing social and economic mobility, addressing long-standing inequalities in our communities, and ensuring that all members of our community have access to a life-changing education,” Green said.