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Maine nonprofit will receive $9 million donation from MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott, MacKenzie Bezos
Evan Agostini/
On March 4, 2018, MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday, June 15, 2021, that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

The Maine Health Access Foundation is receiving a $9 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire who was formerly married to the founder of Amazon.

The president and CEO of the Foundation, Barbara Leonard, said the award was unsolicited, but Scott has recently donated to other nonprofits across the U.S. that are focused on improving rural health and equity.

"It is both thrilling and surreal. And it comes with a real sense of gratitude and a real desire to use the funds well," Leonard said.

The Foundation, which distributes grants to improve access to health care, expects to receive the funds early next year. Leonard said they'll seek input on how best to use them.

"What our hope is, is that these funds will give us some flexibility to maybe spend beyond where we've been looking for our budget in the coming few years and really identify some transformative opportunities," she said.