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A surprise $6 million gift for KIPP Colorado Public Schools

Kipp Colorado receives hefty donation ahead of holidays
Kipp Colorado receives hefty donation ahead of holidays 02:24

A game-changing donation will help Colorado students. Philanthropist and author Mackenzie Scott has given away billions of dollars since 2020, following her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Now Scott is making a big donation to charter schools in Denver.

Chief External Affairs Officer for KIPP Colorado Taamiti Bankole said, "This is entirely a surprise.  A very happy surprise."  KIPP Colorado is a network of 6 charter public schools serving 2600 students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade in Denver.  


The surprise came by way of an email. The message said philanthropist Mackenzie Scott was gifting them $6 million.

Bankole said, "We are so humbled by it, we just love the recognition, and it's all because of our students and staff." Much like their student population, the network's leadership and staff are diverse.

More than 65% of the executive team is Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

Bankole believes that's part of why they're getting the big donation. "I think that she saw that we reflect the communities that we serve, I think she also saw that our students are just happy and joyful."


The money will be invested to keep students happy.  Bankole says it's earmarked for initiatives that support their entire education experience, "Including mental health & health centers possibly in our schools, creating an alumni to staff pathway so that way our students can see themselves. Then also really investing in data systems to ensure the highest quality instruction is in front of our students every day." 

Teacher Kellie Johnson has some ideas, too: "Any money we can put into social/emotional learning has my heart, especially coming down from a pandemic."  

Johnson says KIPP has a wonderful family culture.  "How encouraging it is to have families come in to participate, come in and sit with your kids, come in and ask questions. Give your input on what you need. Your input really matters here, and I think that's what sets us apart from any other school."

Bankole said KIPP students and families deserve credit for the recognition by Scott, "I want them to recognize their hard work because they're the reason why we are receiving this. It's not because of what the home office is doing, it's all because of the students and it's all because of the families, and we're all just thankful that they entrust us every single day with their students."

Six million dollars is sure to go a long way for KIPP Colorado, and the entire school network says they're forever grateful. "This is going to allow us to do so much for all of those students and future students, too," Bankole added.


The gift from Scott is the largest single donation in KIPP Colorado's 20-year history and the largest gift Mackenzie Scott has given to a Colorado charter school network to date.

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