MacKenzie Scott donates $8M to National Council on Aging in Arlington

The Arlington, Virginia-based National Council on Aging has received an $8 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, its largest single gift in the nonprofit’s 72-year history.

The council s the donation is unrestricted, and will be used to support its work addressing inequities that make it difficult for women, minorities, LGBTQ, low-income and rural Americans to age with dignity.

It said more than 25 million older Americans are financially insecure, and 75% have at least two chronic health conditions.

NCOA’S mission is assisting older Americans with access to health benefits programs that can pay for daily expenses, learning new skills to re-enter the workforce and taking steps to remain healthy and independent. It provides online education, supports community-based organizations that serve older adults and lobbies for older American causes.

It says since 2010, it and its partners have improved the lives of 19 million older adults. In 2021, 95% were low-income, 66% were women, 40% were people of color and 27% were rural populations.

“NCOA has a proven track record of addressing societal challenges on multiple levels,” said NCOA Board Chair Kathy Greenlee, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging. “This incredible gift will be a game-changer for spurring innovation and accelerating our efforts to make aging well a right, not a privilege, for every American.”

Scott, former wife of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has pledged to give away her entire fortune, estimated by Forbes to be $59 billion.

In 2020, she granted $40 million to Howard University, the largest single donation in the D.C. school’s 153-year history. Scott and Bezos divorced in 2019 after a 25-year marriage.

Scott generally does not comment on her donations, and has not disclosed how much of her fortune she has given away, writing in a blog post in December, “I want to let each of these incredible teams speak for themselves first if they choose to, with the hope that when they do, media focuses on their contributions instead of mine.”

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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