MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates donate $40 million to women’s organisations.

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MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates announced Thursday that they will donate $40 million to projects promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Included in the funding is money for a network of nonprofit organizations working to improve conditions for caregivers, Ada Developers Academy’s management and coding training program and Girls Inc.’s initiative to bolster the number of women in corporate leadership. The fourth project includes New Mexico Community Capital and Native Women Lead work in supporting entrepreneurship among Native women.

Two other organisations, FreeFrom and IGNITE, will each receive $4 million for projects addressing the economic impact of domestic violence and empowering women politically.

The funding comes from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which was launched as a competitive process last year and received 550 proposals from nearly every state in the country. The competition was sponsored by Bill Gates’ investment firm, Pivotal Ventures, as well as Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

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According to a press statement, the competition is the first in the United States centered on gender equality with “an award of this magnitude.”

“The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers,” Scott said in a statement. “And best of all, they’re not alone. This challenge received so many bold ideas to activate new levers, remove old barriers and push forward for gender equality. It’s exciting to see all the ways people are making a difference.”

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and a billionaire philanthropist, pledged in 2019 to donate half of her fortune to charity. She gave $2.7 billion to 286 organisations earlier this year.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced last month that it would donate $2.1 billion to women’s empowerment projects. In May, the Gateses announced their divorce.

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