Rainwater Foundation, Scott donate $2.5M to education nonprofit

Dallas-based Big Thought, an impact education nonprofit, announced it has received $2.5 million in donations — $1 million from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation based in Fort Worth and $1.5 million from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett.

This funding will be invested in expanding on the work Big Thought is doing with its partners in the community to help close the opportunity gap through educational programs, learning communities and advocacy. Big Thought empowers youth to imagine and design a more equitable and innovative future. This gift will enable the organization to continue supporting youth in communities that have traditionally been underfunded and deliver programs that equip learners with the space, tools and skills to think of new ways to approach challenges, make connections and solve problems.

A private family foundation, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation funds initiatives focused on children and believes that high-quality education can transform the life trajectories of children and families. The donation from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation will support Big Thought’s efforts to tackle racial wealth inequality through systemic change.

“Our team at Big Thought is grateful to MacKenzie Scott, Dan Jewett and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation for their investments. We have been doing this work with our community partners for more than 30 years, and these contributions will enable us to keep inspiring all youth to imagine and create a more innovative and equitable world,” said Byron Sanders, president and CEO of Big Thought. “These are transformational gifts that will have a lasting impact. They’ll enable us to learn along with our partners in communities how to center youth agency, deepen our own readiness along a race-equity journey, and equip youth with powerful creative experiences readying them for a twenty-first century world.”

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Scott announced Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of no-strings-attached, major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wrote in a Medium post that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, made the donations to enable the recipients to continue their work and as a “signal of trust and encouragement” to them and others.

Scott also gave $40 million to the University of Texas at San Antonio, $40 million to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and donated to several community colleges across Texas, including $15 million to Amarillo College and $30 million to San Jacinto College, according to her blog post on the donations.