Sonoma-Marin Boys & Girls Club granted $4.8 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

The funds will pave the way for two projects, among them a $17 million Boys & Girls Club planned for Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood.|

Philanthropist and novelist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $4.8 million to the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma-Marin.

The donation was announced Monday and will go toward the completion of two projects, among them a $17 million Boys & Girls Club planned for Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood, the nonprofit said in a news release.

A second project, a $12 million restoration of an aging Healdsburg club on Piper Street, will also benefit from the donation, the nonprofit said.

The gift is part of Scott’s record $281 million donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and 62 of its clubs, said Jennifer Weiss, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma-Marin. Scott’s gift is the largest the organization has received from one person in its 160-year history, the national nonprofit said.

Weiss said she was honored to receive Scott’s “astoundingly generous gift,” which will benefit local children. She received an initial call about the donation last month but was asked to keep the news confidential until late last week, she added.

“It was important to our benefactor that we use the gift where it will have the most impact in our efforts,” Weiss said. “We knew immediately we wanted these funds to help us build two new buildings in Sonoma County.”

While the local club’s proposed Roseland site has received millions of dollars in donations since launching in 2019, the nonprofit says it must raise another $10 million to complete construction.

The project is planned west of the upcoming Tierra de Rosas development on Sebastopol Road and is envisioned as a community hub for the area’s predominantly Latino residents, the nonprofit said.

The Healdsburg project seeks to modernize a more than 60-year-old building that has no air conditioner. The John Jordan Foundation, a private philanthropy for disadvantaged youth operated by Jordan Vineyard & Winery, has pledged $1.5 million to that project, Weiss said.

Scott, who helped build Amazon in its early days, donated $8.7 billion to various organizations between 2020 and last September, according to The Associated Press. She accumulated most of her fortune from her 2019 divorce from Bezos, the news service said.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

Nashelly Chavez

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Press Democrat 

Who calls the North Bay home and how do their backgrounds, socioeconomic status and other factors shape their experiences? What cultures, traditions and religions are celebrated where we live? These are the questions that drive me as I cover diversity, equity and inclusion in Sonoma County and beyond.   


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