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MacKenzie Scott’s $250 Million “Open Call”: What We Know


Professional headshot of MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott's philanthropic journey has been shrouded in mystery. Since 2019, she's donated a massive $14 billion to over 1,600 organizations in need, but the process of selecting recipients was a closely-guarded secret. That is—until recently when Scott opened the doors to an "Open Call" that allows nonprofits to submit applications for grants from her organization, Yield Giving.


Yield Giving

MacKenzie Scott created Yield Giving to share a financial fortune made through the effort of countless people. Yield Giving is an initiative focused on elevating organizations working with people and in places that have been historically underserved and marginalized.


The organization name, Yield Giving, encapsulates Scott's generous, relaxed giving approach—the majority of her donations are unrestricted grants. Through Yield Giving, MacKenzie Scott plans to make unrestricted $1 million donations to 250 nonprofits selected during the Open Call. This initiative follows her pledge in 2019 to donate at least half of her fortune to good causes.


Yield Giving has also released a new database that provides information about the organizations and individuals supported by MacKenzie Scott's philanthropy since 2019. This database will help inform future giving decisions and provide greater transparency for those interested in learning more about the impact of her philanthropic efforts.


How to Apply


To apply for funding through Scott's "open call," nonprofits must visit Yield Giving's website to register for the Open Call. The website provides a handy Organizational Readiness Tool interested organizations can use to see if they are eligible for the Open Call.


Eligibility Criteria


The eligibility criteria for this open call are recognized nonprofit U.S.-based organizations with an annual operating budget of at least $1 million and no more than $5 million for at least two of the past three years. Organizations must also have a mission that aligns with MacKenzie Scott's philanthropy goals, which include advancing racial equity, economic mobility, climate change solutions, public health, and other causes.


Scoring Process


A scoring rubric is available for download at YieldGiving.com so organizations can see how they'll be evaluated. Each category is assigned a weight of 25% and is rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

  1. Equity-Focused (25%): looks at commitment to prioritizing and empowering individuals and families with limited resources and those historically excluded from opportunity.

  2. Track Record (25%): measures an organization's proven success in significantly helping individuals and families improve their well-being.

  3. Community Leadership (25%): scores an organization's leadership reflects and represents the community it serves.

  4. Team Capacity (25%): rates an organization's team's depth of skills, capacity, and knowledge necessary to ensure continued success.


Important Dates


Interested organizations must register to apply before 4 p.m. U.S. Central Time, May 5, 2023, and complete applications are due before 4 p.m. U.S. Central Time on June 12, 2023. In Fall 2023, applicants top-rated by their peers will advance to the Evaluation Panel Review by a panel recruited for experience relevant to this initiative. The donor team will select from among the organizations recommended by their peers and the external evaluation panel and announce 250 awardees in early 2024.


The Importance of Unrestricted Funding

One of the key aspects of Scott's philanthropic efforts is her focus on providing unrestricted funds to nonprofits. This means that organizations can use the funds as they see fit without being tied to specific projects or initiatives. This flexibility allows nonprofits to allocate resources where needed and respond to emerging community challenges or opportunities.


A Unique Opportunity for Eligible Nonprofits

MacKenzie Scott's announcement of a $250 million open call for nonprofits is a game-changer for eligible organizations seeking financial support.


I'm excited to see the positive impact that this initiative will have on the nonprofit sector and the communities we serve. It's a reminder that philanthropy can be a powerful tool for change!


What do you think about this initiative? Have you applied for funding? I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

 

Kristin Chute is a freelance writer with a passion for helping nonprofits increase their reach and impact. She has written for companies offering SaaS solutions, nonprofits directly, and donor loyalty programs.


Kristin believes in the power of nonprofit organizations to change the world. With expertise stemming from her career and personal connection to volunteering at her childhood summer camp, she shares insights to help nonprofits increase their reach, engage supporters, and amplify fundraising efforts.


 

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