PILSEN — Billionaire MacKenzie Scott has donated $8 million to the National Museum of Mexican Art, the largest donation in the museum’s 39-year history.
Museum officials announced the donation Tuesday from the philanthropist Scott and her husband Dan Jewett. The funds are unrestricted, officials said in a statement.
“This generous gift will have a lasting and transformative impact on our organization and the community we serve,” museum founder Carlos Tortolero said in a statement.
“Thank you to Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett for honoring our work and that of the artists whose vision and voices we seek to amplify in Chicago, the US, and throughout the world,” Tortolero added.
News of the donation comes as the museum, 1852 W.19th St., prepares to reopen July 1. It had been closed for more than a year because of the pandemic.
The University of Illinois Chicago also got a huge boost from Scott with a $40 million donation, the largest ever from an individual, the school said in a statement. UIC’s funds also are unrestricted and will be used to aid first-generation and low-income students, according to the statement.
“Ms. Scott’s extremely generous donation will advance the lives of students who are poised to make great contributions to our city, our state and our world. Her gift is a vote of confidence in the mission of public higher education and in UIC,” Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis said in a statement. “This is another important milestone in UIC’s unprecedented growth and burgeoning role as Chicago’s leader in public higher education, providing unique learning opportunities for students, attracting top academic talent and driving innovation and discovery.”
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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