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Melinda French Gates, Mackenzie Scott Direct $40 Million to Empower Women

The four winners were chosen from a pool of 550 applicants who proposed creative ways to empower American women and gender non-conforming people.

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Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott have teamed up in an effort to fund the advancement of American women by directing $40 million to the cause over the next ten years. 

James Devaney | Getty Images

The two billionaires, who have both signed the Giving Pledge and promised to give away most of their wealth in their lifetimes, are giving the money to winners of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which is hosted by French Gates’ firm, Pivotal Ventures. They’re getting financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, along with the Charles andLynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. 

"The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers," said Scott. 

The four winners were chosen from a pool of 550 applicants who proposed creative ways to empower American women and gender non-conforming people. The winners’ ideas focused on creating publicly-supported infrastructure for caregiving as well as training for women interested in careers in software development. One seeks to aid women through college and early into their careers while another wants to develop “impactful businesses owned by Native womxn.”

French Gates said in a statement, “We can break the patterns of history and advance gender equality, but we must commit to lifting up organizations, like the ones receiving awards today, that are ready to lift up women and girls."

Both women are active philanthropists who have regularly donated to causes they care about.