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MacKenzie Scott, Melinda French Gates donate $40M to women's groups

By
Jake Thomas
Melinda Gates arrives for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, in Paris on July 1. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE
Melinda Gates arrives for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, in Paris on July 1. Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA-EFE

July 29 (UPI) -- MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates announced Thursday they are giving $40 million to projects aimed at women's empowerment and improving gender equality.

Included in the funding is money for a network of nonprofit organizations working to improve conditions for caregivers, Ada Developers Academy's management and coding training program and Girls Inc.'s initiative to bolster the number of women in corporate leadership. The fourth project includes New Mexico Community Capital and Native Women Lead work in supporting entrepreneurship among Native women.

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Two additional organizations, FreeFrom and IGNITE, will each receive $4 million for projects aimed at addressing the economic impact of domestic violence and the political empowerment of women.

The funding is part of the Equality Can't Wait Challenge, which was launched last year as a competitive process and received 550 proposals from almost every state in the country. The competition was supported by Gates' investment company, Pivotal Ventures, with support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

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According to a press statement, the competition is the first in the United States centered on gender equality with "an award of this magnitude."

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"The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers," Scott said in a statement. "And best of all, they're not alone. This challenge received so many bold ideas to activate new levers, remove old barriers and push forward for gender equality. It's exciting to see all the ways people are making a difference."

Scott, a billionaire philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, pledged in 2019 to give half her wealth to charity. She donated $2.7 billion to 286 groups earlier this year.

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Last month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed to giving away $2.1 billion for women's empowerment projects. The Gateses announced their divorce in May.

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