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Cleveland schools announce ‘major gift’ worth $20 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott: How the district plans to spend the money

With the money, district CEO Eric Gordon says they are planning to create the CMSD Get More Opportunities Fund.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has received a "major gift" in the form of $20 million from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon announced the gift Tuesday morning from the auditorium at East Tech High School, calling it "a surprise to the district."

"Scott’s foundation does not solicit proposals," he said. "You’re not allowed to ask her for money. She and her team simply identify organizations they want to support -- and we are thrilled that CMSD made that list.”

Scott, who is the ex-wife of Amazon's Jeff Bezos, recently posted that she has donated nearly $2 billion throughout the last seven months to 343 organizations “supporting the voices and opportunities of people from undeserved communities.”

We streamed the full CMSD announcement, which you can watch in the player below:

Gordon said there are no restrictions for how the money must be spent, but announced plans to create a new program known as the CMSD Get More Opportunities Fund.

"It's a fund of approximately $4 million per year, that will be distributed over the next five years starting this January 2023. With the board’s approval, investments will be made in three categories.”

Those categories include:

  • Scholar opportunities: Student travel for college visits and learning, international travel, participation in foreign exchange programs, participation in summer camps, etc.
  • Educator opportunities: Tuition support, additional skill opportunities, investments in organizational learning, etc.
  • School community benefits: Improvements of athletics fields and facilities, performance spaces in the district, specialized classrooms (science / technology labs), musical instruments, etc.


Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated story on Nov. 22, 2022.

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