Season 3, Episode 8

MacKenzie Scott’s Lessons on Giving with Phil and Grace

In the season three finale of the Giving Done Right podcast, hosts Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette pull back the curtain on new Center for Effective Philanthropy research: Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits. Phil and Grace discuss how the idea to study the impact of MacKenzie Scott’s gifts on their recipients came about, the approach to the research, the key findings of the study about the experiences of the nonprofit leaders who have received these gifts, and implications for other donors.

About the Report:
CEP’s new report, Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits, examines the effect of MacKenzie Scott’s large, unrestricted gifts on the nonprofits that have received them. The study sought to answer three big questions: 

  • Do nonprofits believe this gift has increased their impact? In what ways?
  • How did these nonprofits allocate the grant? And why?
  • Have the nonprofits experienced unintended negative consequences of the gift? What have been the downsides of receiving this gift, if any?

The report finds that recipients of Scott’s unusually large gifts say the funding has been transformative for their organizations. They report that they’re using the unrestricted money to expand their core work while also shoring up their financial sustainability and addressing operational capacity, and that the support was more likely to strengthen their fundraising efforts than to cause other funders to pull back.

The most comprehensive study to date on the impact of Scott’s giving on nonprofits, this is the first report in a three-year research effort CEP is conducting.  

Executive Producer: Sarah Martin
Audio engineer: Kevin O’Connell
Additional editing: Isabel Hibbard
Music: “FasterFasterBrighter” and “Kid Kodi” by Blue Dot Sessions
Artwork: Jay Kustka

CEP Report: Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits
CEP’s Three-Year Big Gifts Study
MacKenzie Scott’s announcements about her gifts on Medium