BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, is giving away more than half of her fortune and a network of schools in Brooklyn was just gifted $11 million to use how they see fit.
Ascend Public Charter Schools, the largest Brooklyn-based charter school, announced Tuesday that its network recently received an unsolicited $11 million gift from Scott.
Ascend serves 6,000 students across Brooklyn. This discretionary gift will allow Ascend to open three new Brooklyn school facilities in Flatbush, Cypress Hills, and Brownsville. It will also help Ascend reach 1,000 more students, and extend its student population to 7,000 by 2027.
Scott is very secretive about her gifting selection process and Ascend does not know why they were chosen or how they were chosen, but the money has cleared their account.
As 93% of Ascend’s students identify as Black or LatinX, Ascend takes pride in being Black-led: 78% of staff are people of color and 80% of the executive team are people of color. Ascend prioritizes diversity, honors the culture of its students, and promotes empathy by adopting a curriculum focused on providing students windows into the realities of others and mirrors that reflect their own lives.
It works with all students who have been traditionally underserved by the public education system. At Ascend, 86% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 13% have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and 5% are English language learners.