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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Kennedy-King College Gets $5 Million From MacKenzie Scott, School’s Largest-Ever Donation From One Person

The donation will go toward ensuring students can access a college education, Kennedy-King President Greg Thomas said.

The theater at Kennedy-King College.
Vashon Jordan Jr.
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CHICAGO — Kennedy-King College received its largest-ever grant from an individual as philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $5 million to the Englewood college.

College President Greg Thomas said the gift will help ensure students can access college, and it will help them “break down barriers of their own by launching carriers in high-demand fields,” according to a statement. Kennedy-King has nearly 5,000 students, 93 percent of whom are Black or Latino, according to the college.

Scott’s gift is the largest donation by a single, private entity for the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, according to the organization.

The gift will be managed by the City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, which supports students’ financial needs through scholarship programs. 

Scott also donated to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, and gave $40 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago — the largest-ever donation from an individual in that school’s history.

In a blog post Tuesday, Scott said she and her husband donated $2.74 billion to 286 “equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected.”

“Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health, so we evaluated smaller arts organizations creating these benefits with artists and audiences from culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook,” Scott wrote

Scott and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos divorced in 2019. She has given out more than $8 billion in three rounds of funding, according to National Public Radio.

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