© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MacKenzie Scott ‘Takes Stock’ in Palm Beach County kids with $1 million donation

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Evan Agostini
Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Amazon co-founder MacKenzie Scott’s famed generosity has found the Palm Beach County affiliate of Take Stock in Children.

Why it’s important: Scott announced last month she would give the nonprofit $1 million as part of $640 million shared with 361 small nonprofit organizations. No strings attached.

The grant shines a light on Take Stock for Children, which mentors students and provides two-year Florida Prepaid college scholarships to high school graduates in its program.

The Palm Beach County organization was chosen from more than 6,000 nonprofits that applied for a grant.

Scott and Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos divorced in 2019. That year she pledged to give away most of her wealth, estimated then to be $38 billion.

With this round of grants, Scott has donated more than $17 billion, according to her organization, Yield Giving. In 2020, she gave $10 million to the United Way of Palm Beach County. In 2022, she gave $5 million to the Urban League of Palm Beach County.

About Take Stock in Children: The Palm Beach County affiliate is part of the statewide organization that operates in every Florida county. Mentors from the community meet with students weekly during school hours. 700 students who completed the program were enrolled in college last year.

The Palm Beach County nonprofit’s 2023 annual report charts a graduation rate of 98% for program high school students vs. 80% for at-risk peers.

96% of program participants enroll in college compared to 30% of peers. 74% complete college compared to 29% of peers.

Two people hold a check.
Courtesy of Pat Brown
Stet Palm Beach
Ruth Dorce and her Take Stock in Children mentor Pat Brown.

Pat Brown, a retired Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, has mentored six students through Take Stock in Children.

“It’s a personal commitment,” Brown says. The one-on-one mentor relationship is vital to the program, she said. “It’s so important for the mentor to remind the mentees not to let their current living environment define their future.”

Brown said she just spoke with a student she met through the nonprofit. Ruth Dorce graduated from Glades Central High School and went on to study education at the University of Central Florida.

Wilkine Brutus of Lake Worth Beach, a Palm Beach County reporter and producer for WLRN, was a member of the first group of students that Take Stock in Children reached in 1995.

“I was always a self-motivated child, but I strongly believe that the right social resources have helped me advance my life,” Brutus, a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, said. “Without the wonderful parenting from my mother and the lifelong brotherhood from my Take Stock mentor, Frank Bobo, things would have been more difficult for me.”

In a post on the Yield Giving website, Scott wrote the organizations in this round of grants were chosen for their “outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means and groups who have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles.”

You can find a list of MacKenzie Scott’s grants since 2020 here.

This story was originally published by Stet Palm Beach, a WLRN News partner.

More On This Topic