HBCUs in Maryland and Virginia get million-dollar gifts from MacKenzie Scott

Historically Black universities in Maryland and Virginia are receiving tens of millions in gifts from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott.

Maryland’s Morgan State University — the largest historically Black university in Maryland — got $40 million. Bowie State got $25 million. And the University of Maryland Eastern Shore received $20 million.

Virginia State University received a $30 million donation — it’s the largest single donor gift in the historically Black college’s history.

Morgan State’s gift came as the university works to make itself one of the top public research universities in the county.

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” university President David Wilson said in a news release. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgment of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”

The school said the gift was second largest ever received by a Maryland university and the largest ever received by Morgan State. University officials said most of the $40 million will seed an unrestricted endowment named “Leading the World Endowment Fund.”

The endowment will support students and faculty as well as improve academic programs.

“Endowment gifts have a strong and lasting influence and build institutional capacity in the most fundamental and sustainable way,” Donna Howard, vice president for Institutional Advancement, said. “The impact of Ms. Scott’s gift will reverberate profoundly into the future as we prepare the next generations of leaders and scholars in the arts and sciences.”

Scott’s donation to the Maryland university is one of many made by the philanthropist. In all, Scott says she’s donated $4.1 billion to charity in the last four months. She donated another $40 million to Howard University in D.C. earlier this year.

Scott pledged earlier this year to give the majority of her wealth “back to the society that helped generate it.”

Scott is the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

WTOP’s Will Vitka, Michelle Basch and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is a reporter and the creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “DMV Download.” The podcast debuted in 2022. On the show, Garrett takes a weekly look at the biggest stories and ideas in the D.C. region.

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