MacKenzie Scott Gives $15 Million to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service - Word&Way

MacKenzie Scott Gives $15 Million to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

MacKenzie Scott has made a $15 million gift to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. (Evan Agostini/Invision via AP)

(RNS) — Novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has awarded Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service $15 million in donation funds, the single largest contribution in the advocacy organization’s 83-year history.

Scott announced donations to LIRS and more than 340 other organizations in a Medium post on Monday (Nov. 14), totaling nearly $2 billion in overall donations dolled out over the past 7 months.

According to a press release from LIRS, Scott’s $15 million donation comes as the group works to resettle Afghan refugees, people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and asylum-seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This unprecedented and timely gift will make a monumental difference in the lives of the most vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers as they strive to achieve their own American Dream,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of LIRS, in the press release.

LIRS is one of nine groups that partner with the federal government to help resettle refugees — six of which, like LIRS, are faith-based. The Lutheran group, like many others, not only assists the refugees, but also advocates publicly for their cause.

“We are extremely grateful to MacKenzie Scott for this recognition of our decades-long legacy of service. Her support represents a transformational opportunity to expand innovative programming and reimagine how the U.S. welcomes new Americans,” said Vignarajah.

It’s the second time Scott has listed faith groups — including other immigration rights groups and liberal-leaning religious advocacy organizations — among the recipients of her grants. In 2021, she also awarded funds to Faith in Action, Faith in Public Life, HIAS, Repair the World, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Muslim Advocates, Pillars Fund, Homeboy Industries and Repairers of the Breach.

Scott’s ex-husband, tech mogul Jeff Bezos, also revealed on Monday his intention to donate the majority of his vast wealth to charity — although it is unclear what organizations the Amazon founder will prioritize.