MacKenzie Scott’s donation “paves the way for transformational change” — accelerating progress toward gender equity

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2021

Contact: Kaitlin Chandler Brooks, Manager of Development, Partnerships & Communications
Phone: +1 (510) 285-5724 Email:

OAKLAND – Rise Up, a global non-profit advancing gender equity, is honored to be among the 286 nonprofits that received a total of $2.7 billion from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett. As Scott shared, these gifts are guided by the knowledge that “people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change.” This philosophy underscores Rise Up’s core belief that activating women and girls to transform their own lives, communities and countries transforms our world. 

This generous gift will accelerate Rise Up’s goal to improve health, education and economic opportunity for millions of women and girls across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the US over the next five years.

“MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett’s gift comes at a crucial moment — Rise Up can now put more resources directly in the hands of leaders who are leading the response to COVID-19 and prioritizing the needs of women and girls as we begin the long road to recovery,” Rise Up’s founder and executive director, Dr. Denise Raquel Dunning explained. “We must not settle for a return to ‘normal’ — this investment paves the way for the transformational change we need. We are deeply grateful for Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett’s belief in the power of women and girls to create a better future for us all.”

For more than a decade, Rise Up has supported local leaders and organizations to develop solutions to the problems they face by advocating for laws, policies and budgets that improve the lives of women and girls. Rise Up Leaders have successfully advocated for a ban on child marriage in Malawi, stronger political representation for women in Mexico, improved access to technology and jobs in Nigeria, increased funding for public health in Kenya and better access to education for girls in India, impacting millions of women and girls around the world. 

With this generous unrestricted support, Rise Up can scale and deepen this important work to ensure that women and girls in the US and across the world can lead change in their communities. 

“We hope this ambitious investment in gender equity and in Rise Up’s unique model will inspire others to follow Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett’s lead,” said Mary Pittman, president and chief executive officer of the Public Health Institute, Rise Up’s fiscal sponsor. “Achieving gender equity will require bold actions and ambitious commitments from us all.”

Rise Up activates women and girls to transform their lives, families and communities for a more just and equitable world by investing in local solutions, strengthening leadership, and building movements. Since 2009, our powerful network of over 600 leaders has successfully advocated for 120 new and improved laws and policies impacting 135 million people in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the US.

The Public Health Institute (PHI), Rise Up’s partner and fiscal sponsor, is an independent nonprofit organization, dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world.

New to Rise Up?

  • Watch this video to learn about Rise Up’s work in Malawi to end child marriage.
  • Read this blog about how Rise Up Leader Alicia is creating a safer environment for children in India.
  • See how Rise Up Leader Veronica and her daughter Melody are supporting girls to lead change in Guatemala in this video.
  • Check out this UN report to understand our approach to girl-led advocacy.