TAMIU received a $ 40 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, essentially doubling the school’s endowment fund



Texas A&M International University was one of 384 organizations across the country on Tuesday to receive a multi-million dollar donation from MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author, and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Scott gave TAMIU $ 40 million unreservedly, which is almost the entire $ 43 million university they’ve built in 50 years.

“To say we are amazed seems like an understatement,” TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz said in a statement. “This will change lives, make dreams come true, and transform higher education here for generations to come. We are told that this selection is based on the transformative work we are doing here and the inspirational success of our students. This will advance this work and this transformation. “

Arenaz said the university will meet with executives and advisors on and off campus to work out a comprehensive plan to maximize the gift. How the money is spent is ultimately up to him and the vice presidents of the university.

“In the new year we will come together to plan a better future for TAMIU. In this time of great adversity and challenge, we hope that this message will continue to inspire hope and appreciation for the power of giving and kindness to change the world, ”he said.

Scott announced Tuesday that it had paid out a total of $ 4,158,500,000 to 384 organizations in every state in the country and in Puerto Rico. She and a team of advisors identified organizations with strong leadership teams, with a particular focus on communities facing high food insecurity, poverty, racial inequality, and low access to philanthropic capital.

“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans who are already struggling with it. Both the economic losses and the health consequences were worse for women, people of color and people living in poverty. It has now increased the wealth of billionaires significantly, ”wrote Scott in an article on Medium.

TAMIU is a primarily Hispanic university and has been recognized for its impact on graduate socio-economic mobility. Scott noted that some of the organizations she donated to meet basic needs, such as food banks and emergency funds. Others address long-term systemic inequalities, such as education for historically marginalized and underserved people.

“We shared each of our donation decisions for the first time by phone with the program directors and welcomed them to spend the funds on what they felt was best for their endeavors,” wrote Scott. “They were told that the entire commitment would be prepaid and left unreserved to give them maximum flexibility.”

Arenaz first heard the news on Friday when he received a call with one of Scott’s staff. He said he was incredulous and utterly baffled.

“You read about these things and you never think they will happen to you. And all of a sudden you get this call and they say, ‘We’re going to give you $ 40 million for your work,’ “Arenaz said.

The message was also embargoed so that he couldn’t tell anyone. Arenaz said it kept him up on Sunday night as he kept waking up and thinking about how the money could be used.

He said the money would certainly go towards creating scholarship foundations for college students, attracting Texas residents to college, programming health sciences, and so on.

“I’ve been thinking about a myriad of things we can do,” said Arenaz.

Julia Wallace can be reached at 956-728-2543 or [email protected]



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