Inside MacKenzie Scott's recent $18.9 million donation to MakeWay – the largest in its history

The grantmaker is one of the few Canadian organizations to receive funding from billionaire U.S. philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Why It Matters

MacKenzie Scott, one of the most high-profile trust-based philanthropists in the world, is setting an example to Canadian donors and grantmakers on how to distribute billions of dollars in wealth to changemakers — no strings attached.

When several consultants contacted MakeWay CEO Joanna Kerr in 2021 on behalf of an anonymous donor, it seemed at first to be just another case of a wealthy individual wanting to make a discrete donation to the national grantmaker. Except these consultants started asking way more questions than donors typically do.

They wanted to know how MakeWay’s theory of change works, how it handles partnerships, runs grantmaking, and evaluates its programs. At the time, MakeWay was working on its 2022-2025 strategic plan – the consultants received an early draft. “It’s not unusual to be working with anonymous donors,” Kerr explains in an interview with Future of Good. “The unusual part was coming back, over and over again, with so many different questions.”

Eventually, in February 2022, Kerr was told to wait and see if MakeWay would receive a donation. By then, she had

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