Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is giving CMSD $20 million

CLEVELAND - Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated nearly $2 billion to 343 organizations. Today, Scott gave $20 million to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated the money in hopes that it will be used to broaden student's horizons, strengthen support for staff and principals, and make improvements that benefit the District and community. 

The Board of Education will be asked to approve the donation when it meets tonight. 

The gift from Scott's foundation is the largest private donation CMSD has received in at least two decades and might be its largest private donation ever.

The District was surprised by the donation because CMSD did not ask the foundation for money. 

“We are very grateful for this incredible gift,” CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said. “It will give our scholars exposure to travel and other experiences that will broaden their worldview and make their education more meaningful. We will also be able to invest more deeply in staff professional development and improve facilities and equipment.” 

The District will use the donation to create the CMSD Get More Opportunities Fund, building upon the District's efforts to enhance students' educational experience. The Cleveland Foundation will administer the fund. 

CMSD will expend the donation in five annual installments of $4 million, plus interest. Investments will be made in three categories; Scholar Opportunities, including student travel for college visits and learning; Educator Opportunities, such as tuition and training; and One-time Improvements – for example, athletic equipment, musical instruments, and science labs. 

“It’s appropriate that CMSD is announcing this amazingly generous gift the week of Thanksgiving,” said Helen Williams, Cleveland Foundation program director for education. “The fact that the District was selected – and did not apply – for this transformative grant speaks volumes about the work Eric Gordon and his team have done putting students and staff first for more than a decade.” 

You can watch the announcement by CMSD CEO Eric Gordon in Full Below.

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