November 15, 2022

Third Wave Fund Receives Largest Individual Donation from MacKenzie Scott

An illustration of various people marching in one direction on a white background. One person in the middle of the crowd is walking with a bike and one person rolling themselves in a wheelchair. Everyone is wearing face masks and some people are holding signs that read

We are excited to announce that Third Wave Fund has been a selected recipient of a $3 million dollar unrestricted donation, the largest individual donation we’ve received in our 25+ year history. We’ve been selected alongside 342 organizations in the latest round of donations from MacKenzie Scott, with special attention in this cohort to by-and-for funds. We’re honored to join the growing list of powerful organizations who have also received funds from Ms. Scott, including Fund for Trans Generations and Groundswell Fund in 2020, Borealis Philanthropy, Sins Invalid, and Allied Media Projects in 2021, and in this latest 2022 cohort, past grantee partners Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, TKO Society, Familia, and Translatinx Network, and friends at RISE Together Fund, Contigo Fund, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and Trans Justice Funding Project, among many others. As our communities face heightened attacks on bodily autonomy and care for people of all genders, this donation indicates just how life-giving and urgent the organizing work of our 500+ grantees in the last two decades has been and continues to be.

In recent years, Third Wave Fund has grown exponentially, from awarding young BIPOC gender justice organizers $874,000 in 2018 to nearly $3m in 2022. Throughout our growth, our purpose has been unwavering –working towards a world where wealth, power, and all forms of life-giving resources are redistributed and shared, where philanthropy is no longer understood as "charity" controlled by the few, but instead is in the hands of our communities. We echo Ms. Scott’s conviction that “people who have experiences with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions” – a conviction that has been vital to us throughout our work and in shaping how we’ve shown up for movements during the pandemic and uprisings.

Ms. Scott is not alone in this work– she joins over 200 of the world's wealthiest in signing the Giving Pledge, an open invitation to billionaires to publicly commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetimes or in their wills. Since July of 2020, Ms. Scott has donated over $14 billion dollars across 1,500 nonprofits, organizations, and mutual aid efforts, and is committed to giving away a majority of her wealth in her lifetime.

As a social justice funder who works diligently with advisory councils and by-and-for grantmaking models in order to disrupt harmful philanthropic dynamics and practices, we’re aware that the source of this money is connected to Ms. Scott’s ex-husband, the CEO of Amazon, one of the most exploitative companies in the world. We remain committed to removing funding barriers and reaching people most impacted by and best positioned to end gender oppression – as Ms. Scott has done with her donation. We’re heartened to see the ways that Ms. Scott has maintained her commitment to these values at a time when grassroots gender justice activism and movement building is critical.

Being from the same communities that we serve, we work to bridge the deep gap between big philanthropy and young gender justice organizers often left behind and out of traditional funding. As attacks continue to escalate against trans people, our right to bodily autonomy, and abortion access across the country, we must match that escalation by moving as much movement-accountable money as possible to seed our collective and intersectional struggles. We are committed to resourcing organizations who are building worlds where people of all genders have autonomy and self-determination over their own bodies and lives. In order to bring these worlds into fruition, we have a responsibility right now to be responsive and accountable to our grantees and movements. This donation from Ms. Scott is an investment in and commitment to the leadership and the power of youth organizing we so firmly believe in.

Whether it’s through the Giving Pledge, through organizations like Resource Generation, Solidaire, or countless giving circles, fundraising campaigns, and mutual aid projects, folks with wealth are actively heeding the call to redistribute their money swiftly and accountably. We’re excited to see the ways this donation will inspire others to give just as boldly to grow our movements. At Third Wave Fund, we’ve launched the Powerful Futures Pledge, a five-year commitment for folks of all backgrounds to show up in whatever capacity makes most sense for them to sustain our movements.

As our grantee partners call on all of us to move as much money as we can in intentional and sustainable ways, this donation bolsters the infrastructure that is needed to resource our movements not just in moments of crisis, but for the long haul. We hope you’ll join us on this long road ahead.

Ana Conner & Kiyomi Fujikawa,
Co-Directors of Third Wave Fund

Image Description (top of blog post): An illustration of various people marching in one direction on a white background. One person in the middle of the crowd is walking with a bike and one person is rolling themselves in a wheelchair. Everyone is wearing face masks and some people are holding signs that read "We keep each other safe," "Black Trans Lives Matter," "Abolish ICE," "Support Sex Workers Now," and "Justice now."  Illustration by Monica Trinidad.