In the News: Christopher Michaelson on MacKenzie Scott’s Philanthropy in Minnesota

Christopher Wong Michaelson, ethics professor at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, recently spoke with the Pioneer Press about MacKenzie Scott’s unique style of giving.

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From the story:

Before giving to an organization, Scott’s team does “quiet research to identify (nonprofits) working to advance the opportunities of people in underserved communities,” according to Yield Giving, the philanthropic organization established by Scott in 2022. She makes only unrestricted gifts – leaving it to each recipient to use their grants how they see fit. ...

Scott may be able to give at a greater scale because she gives unrestricted gifts, said Christopher Wong Michaelson, a professor of ethics and business law at the University of St. Thomas.

“It leaves the hard work of deciding how best to spend those funds up to the beneficiary rather than the benefactor,” he said. “One reward of this strategy is that real issue experts get to decide what to do with the money, but one risk is that it gives the benefactor less control over how the money is spent.”

Scott remains one of the wealthiest women in the world, despite her generosity, “so she is probably not giving up an opportunity to live a comfortable life,” Michaelson said.