Billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott announced earlier this month that she is donating $640 million to 361 nonprofits responding to an open application call. This is more than double the amount she initially said would be donated.

The massive donation marks Scott’s foundation, Yield Giving’s, first round of donations. Scott has been consistently giving back since 2019, but this is the first time Yield Giving has gone through an application process. Lever for Change assisted the foundation in managing the open call. In a brief note on her website, Scott thanked Lever for Change and those who helped evaluate the organizations that applied writing, “Their roles in creating this pathway to support people working to improve access to foundational resources in their communities. They are vital agents of change.”

6,353 nonprofits applied for the $1 million grants. There were few rules as to what kind of organization could apply. Yield Giving’s website asked for community-led applications from nonprofits with missions, “ “to advance the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means.” Organizations with an annual budget ranging from $1 to $5 million were eligible for the grants. The 279 applicants who received top scores were evaluated through a multilayered process, including being scored by fellow applicants and reviewed by a panel of outside experts.

279 applicants were selected to receive $2 million grants instead of the planned $1 million, while 81 runners-up were chosen to receive $1 million each. This change of plans was received gratefully by the nonprofit community. Renee Karibi-Whyte, senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, praised Scott’s selection process, telling the Associated Press, “One of the best things about prize philanthropy is that it surfaces people and organizations and institutions that otherwise wouldn’t have access to the people in the power centers and the funding.”

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Executive Director of the Minnesota-based nonprofit Gender Justice Megan Peterson agreed, saying that the competition presented a unique opportunity for her organization. “Having seen the types of work that she has supported in the past, we did feel like, ‘Oh, if only she knew that we were out here racking up wins,’” she said. After seeing the results of Yield Giving’s first round of donations, Peterson added, “I think [Scott’s] really helping to set a new path for philanthropy broadly, which is with that philosophy of: Find people doing good work and give them resources and then get out of the way. I am grateful for not just the support individually, but the way in which I think she is having an impact on philanthropy broadly.”

Scott’s philanthropic journey began after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The $16.5 billion combined with the value of the Amazon stock she was granted in the settlement briefly made her the wealthiest woman in the world. Scott took this as an opportunity to support causes she believes in. She launched Yield Giving in 2022 to be fully transparent with where her fortune was going. “Information from other people – other givers, my team, the nonprofit teams I’ve been giving to – has been enormously helpful to me. If more information about these gifts can be helpful to anyone, I want to share it,” she wrote in an essay.