AC receives $15 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott


By Joe Wyatt

Amarillo College is thrilled to announce that it has received a magnanimous gift of $15 million from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. 

The gift, which was unsolicited and therefore unanticipated, is by far the largest in the storied history of Amarillo College. It also constitutes one of the largest single disbursements of a gift in the history of the community.

Scott, who is third on Forbes’ 2021 list of the world’s wealthiest women, has in recent months gifted billions of dollars to non-profits and charities, including hundreds of millions for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and community colleges. “The majority of our students – working women of color with children – live in the war zone of poverty and just need a college and community to systemically love them to success. 

“This is overwhelming in every sense of the word,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said. “We are equally elated, stunned and gratified by Ms. Scott’s amazing philanthropy. We are not only grateful to Ms. Scott, we are in awe of her. 

“The majority of our students – working women of color with children – live in the war zone of poverty and just need a college and community to systemically love them to success. This gift will ensure that Amarillo College can freely continue to reimagine education and remove even more barriers for students.

“Ms. Scott’s gift certainly makes our students and our community feel loved.”

The windfall is unrestricted and may be used at the College’s sole discretion, and it comes on the heels of another momentous milestone. In May, AC was named one of the Top 5 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute and captured Aspen’s prestigious 2021 Rising Star Award.

“This tremendous gift is confirmation of the transformative work that is being done by Amarillo College, work being recognized nationwide,” said Johnny Mize, chairman of the AC Board of Regents. “Our city and the communities we serve can be proud of what we are doing to prepare our workforce for the future.”

Lowery-Hart agrees. “Ms. Scott’s gift is an incredible affirmation of the work our College has been doing to attract national attention,” he said.

“Obviously, we will be giving a great deal of thought to how we can leverage these funds to help transform and serve our community. We have every intention of exercising prudence and patience in thinking it through.”

Lowery-Hart said the College likely will consider using the funds to establish an endowment that would generate earnings and benefit the College in perpetuity.

“We’ll engage the community,” he said. “We want this gift to benefit the community that we are dedicated to serving. What we do know is this: The mission of Amarillo College will be supported, deepened and extended by these funds.”

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