It’s been nearly four months since MacKenzie Scott donated $30 million to Long Beach City College to help close wealth gaps and racial disparities and now the college is asking for suggestions for how some of that money should be spent.
Mike Munoz, the colleges interim superintendent-president, sent a memo last week notifying the campus community that the school would accept suggestions for how to spend the money until the end of month.
Suggestions can be made by students, faculty, staff and the general public.
A survey on the college’s website asks people to briefly describe the program or activity they’d like to fund, how much funding they think it needs, how it would be used and for how long. It also asks for other details like who would supervise it, how success would be measured and which of the college’s priorities it would meet.
Improving academic outcomes by addressing racial equity gaps equity-minded practices that promote inclusive and affirming campus environment and increasing holistic support services for the campus’s most vulnerable students are the three options included in the survey.
Suggestions are being accepted by the college until Oct. 31.
It’s unclear how much of the funding will be set aside for the winning suggestion, or when the winning idea will be announced. The LBCC Board of Trustees are expected to discuss more details of how the process will work at an upcoming meeting in October or November, according to a school spokesperson.
At an Aug. 18 board meeting Munoz proposed setting aside $5 million for the LBCC Foundation for scholarships to support the college’s most vulnerable students, another $5 million for strategic investments to support racial justice and keeping the remaining $20 million to invest.
Munoz said that investing that amount of money could yield $500,000 to $600,000 annually and would allow the college to continue to invest in the programs and students the gift intended to help.
“We could have a gift that continues to give,” Munoz said in August.
Scott’s donation was part of $2.7 billion she gave to various charities and schools after her divorce from her former husband, Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon. Unlike typical grant funding, the funding is not tied to a specific area of focus.
Munoz said he wanted the $30 million gifted to the college to be used in a “last money in” approach, meaning he wanted the college to use other funding to address needs before it tapped into the Scott gift.
An advisory group that could be comprised of faculty, staff, managers, students, and community members from all parts of the city are expected to review the suggestions before forwarding them to the college’s executive leadership.
The college’s executive leadership and board of trustees could ultimately decide which submitted idea or ideas are selected and how to best implement them.
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