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UTSA, SAC score huge financial donation from Jeff Bezos' ex-wife

San Antonio College was given $15 million and the University of Texas at San Antonio received $40 million from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett.

SAN ANTONIO — There's a lot to celebrate at two local higher institutions – where some unprecedented donations are coming in. Both the University of Texas at San Antonio and San Antonio College received multi-million dollar donations from the ex-wife of Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos.

MacKenzie Scott, who is a renowned author and philanthropist, along with her husband Dan Jewett donated $40 million to UTSA and 15 million to SAC. The community college said the gift is the largest donation in it's 96-year history.

It is also Scott's second multimillion-dollar donation to an Alamo Colleges District institution in more than six months. SAC recently won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence – making it the number-one community college in the country.

“We are elated at this news,” said SAC President Dr. Robert Vela. “Just as we are catching our breath after being named the nation’s number-one community college, this donation takes us to yet another level of amazement, excitement, pride – and gratitude. This investment in SAC’s mission of service will have an enormous long-term impact on the future of our students and the San Antonio community. We are so thankful to Ms. Scott for her belief in us and we are deeply grateful for her generosity.”

Scott announced the most recent round of giving on Tuesday, sharing that 286 organizations would benefit.

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” she wrote. “We chose to make relatively large gifts . . . both to enable their work, and as a signal of trust and encouragement, to them and to others.”

She also noted that she and her husband spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected. The result was giving $2,739,000,000 to high-impact organizations “that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”

UTSA said the donation will support its "vision of becoming a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence."

The university is working on a comprehensive plan to allocate the funds towards enrollment, retention, learning and graduation.

At UTSA, 75% of students receive financial aid and 45% receive federal Pell grants. Officials with UTSA said Scott and Jewett were also attracted to UTSA’s identity as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and its focus on accelerating Latino student success through intentional systems and programs. Hispanics comprise 57% of its student population.

“This gift is completely transformational for us, for our students, and for our community—it is a tremendous investment in our collective future. A college education is the best way to address inequities that exist in our communities. I am immensely grateful to Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett for their belief in UTSA’s mission and impact as a Hispanic Serving Institution here in San Antonio.” said President Taylor Eighmy. “We look forward to announcing specific plans for this gift later this year.”

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