Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott donates $1.5 million to Dallas nonprofit Big Thought

Billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott is donating nearly $3 billion to hundreds of organizations including the Dallas-based nonprofit Big Thought.

Scott is the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

Last year, she made similar donations totaling $6 billion to help fund COVID-19 relief and historically Black colleges and universities.

This year, Big Thought is one of more than 280 organizations that will be getting donations. 

Byron Sanders, the president and CEO of Big Thought, said he is incredibly thankful for the unexpected gift of more than $1 million.

"Big Thought, we are in the work of creating the experiences than can create creators for the 21st-century world," he said. "A lot of work in Big Thought is with our own programs but then also supporting our partners in non-traditional learning spaces like after school, summer programming. Those kinds of spaces where you get the additional time to really make learning come alive."

Sanders said he had no idea the donation was coming.

"When they told us that we would be getting a gift and they told us who it was, I lost my mind. I did not know how to respond," he said. "This is a transformational gift for us. Big Thought is receiving $1.5 million from Mackenzie Scott. We haven’t even had time to settle into what all that means yet."

The organization hopes to use the money to fund some of the ambitious projects it was already working on and trying to find the money for.

"One of the programs, one of the initiatives that we are going to be getting into allows us to concentrate resources in communities that have been affected by things that we know lead to inequity," Sanders said. "The joy that I get from it though is knowing that there are going to be other organizations that benefit from this gift because of our partnerships. We can’t do anything without partnerships in Big Thought." 

For more information about Big Thought, visit