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Education

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donates $16 million to Escondido Union School District

The Escondido Union School District received an unprecedented donation today. KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado says it's only the second school district to receive a multi-million dollar donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra stood in front of a group of children at Orange Glen Elementary School on Tuesday and announced they received a donation of $16 million from the MacKenzie Scott Foundation.

"I’m proud to announce that the MacKenzie Scott Foundation has donated $16 million toward supporting our work with our students we’re humbled by this recognition and the trust it places on us with this extraordinary gift which was very much unexpected."

He said that Scott, the philanthropist behind the foundation, was impressed by their work and interviewed them through a representative. After learning more, she decided to support them with the gift.

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Rankins-Ibarra said they see unlimited potential in every student. There is a strategic plan underway for creative learning the donation would help fund. They are also listening to the students and will use the money to make sure it will have a lasting impact.

"We've already conducted focus groups with students at every grade level and consistently, they are telling us they want real relevancy connected to work and community," Rankins-Ibarra said. "They've told us they want to know how to balance a checkbook, how to obtain a mortgage, how to cook a meal, it's about connecting to their community."

Rankins-Ibarra said that their district was among the first to develop a plan to open safely during the pandemic, as the children in the district count on the schools for a lot more than just an education. More than 80% of students rely on the food program.

EUSD has more than 14,000 students in preschool through eighth grade on 24 campuses.

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Since 2020, Mackenzie Scott, has given away billions of dollars to education, nonprofits, and other charitable causes.

Corrected: October 29, 2022 at 12:52 PM PDT
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of students in Escondido Union School District. KPBS regrets the error.
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