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SanJac receives $30 million donation

MacKenzie Scott, donor

Gift is by Amazon founder’s ex-wife

By Amanda Fenwick

PASADENA, Texas — Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett have donated $30 million to San Jacinto College, the largest private gift in the College’s history.

“The San Jacinto College Board of Trustees, the San Jacinto College Foundation Board of Directors, as well as our employees and students, both current and future, are deeply grateful for this very generous gift,” said Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer. “We weren’t expecting it, and it came at just the right time so we could put programs like 21Forward in place to help the students in East Harris County who made it through their senior year. These students were impacted by COVID, yet they persisted and graduated. We are honored to be able to use a portion of this gift to help students stay on their higher education pathway. We look forward to announcing plans for the remainder of the funding in the future. For now, we are stunned by this unbelievable gift and excited about the opportunities it provides for us to serve our community in new ways.”

Brenda Hellyer, SJ Chancellor

Scott made the announcement this morning in a blog post, donating more than $2.7 billion to 286 organizations throughout the country. In her post she says, “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.”

San Jacinto College announced the creation of the 21 Forward scholarship earlier this month after it learned of the generous donation. The College is currently developing plans for the use of the additional funds from the Scott gift.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, announced new donations Tuesday of tens of millions of dollars to a group of Texas universities and community colleges that serve large amounts of students of color.

MacKenzie Scott, who owns 4% of Amazon and used to be married to its founder, Jeff Bezos, gave $40 million to the University of Texas at San Antonio, which the university plans to use to boost student enrollment, retention and graduation rates at the Hispanic-serving institution. She also gave $40 million to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and donated to multiple community colleges across Texas, including $15 million to Amarillo College, $15 million to San Antonio College and $30 million to San Jacinto College, according to a blog post announcing the latest donations, which total $2.7 billion.

Scott is said to be worth $60 billion and has given away $8 billion already to hundreds of organizations across the country.

In December, Scott donated $50 million to Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black university, and $40 million to Texas A&M International University in Laredo, which primarily serves Hispanic students. Both gifts are the largest in each university’s history.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top 10 community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College’s impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.