MacKenzie Scott, French Gates join to fund gender equality

MacKenzie Scott, French Gates join to fund gender equality


An initiative from philanthropists Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott and the family foundation of billionaire Lynn Schusterman awarded $40 million Thursday to four promoting gender equality projects in tech, higher education, caregiving and minority communities.

The projects are the winners of The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a funding competition launched in June 2020 with the goal of expanding women’s power and influence in the United States. According to an announcement released Thursday by Lever for Change, an affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation that managed the challenge, the awardees, selected from a pool of more than 500 proposals submitted from across the country, will receive $10 million each.

Equality Can't Wait will fund: Building Women’s Equality through Strengthening the Care Infrastructure, a project by a coalition of organizations working on the societal perceptions of caregiving; Changing the Face of Tech, an initiative to offer women more opportunities in the tech sector; Girls Inc.’s Project Accelerate, which aims to help young women through college and career entry; and The Future is Indigenous Womxn, an initiative to support businesses owned by Native American women.

The three funders have all given contributions to gender equality initiatives in the past. And French Gates, whose investment and incubation company Pivotal Ventures hosted the competition, has pledged to spend $1 billion toward such projects in the U.S., citing low rates of women in leadership positions. That money is slated to be spent through Pivotal, which unlike a traditional charity, is able to invest in high-risk, for-profit entities and become more politically involved. It also doesn't have to disclose information on all the groups it funds.

French Gates said in a statement Thursday that “we can break the patterns of...

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