PAC receives eight-figure gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

December 15, 2020

Marketing and Strategic Communications

Palo Alto College announced that it is the recipient of an eight-figure gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This marks the largest one-time donation in the College’s history.

In a post published today on Medium, Scott highlighted 384 organizations she has given to across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. She wrote that in light of the pandemic and its effect on the lives of Americans already struggling, she charged her team of advisors to help her accelerate her giving, “identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results.”

The sizeable contribution is a game-changer for Palo Alto College – a Hispanic-Serving Institute – which has emerged as a difference-maker in the community, impacting the lives of over 150,000 students in its 35-year history.

“I am deeply humbled by Ms. MacKenzie Scott’s generosity and thank her for entrusting and empowering us to accelerate progress,” said Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College. “This gift is a testament to the impact of Palo Alto College in the community and will allow us to enhance support for students in three different areas including scholarship assistance, student and community advocacy, and continued access to higher education.”

“On behalf of the Board, I congratulate Palo Alto College on a well-deserved gift,” said Alamo Colleges Board Chair Marcelo Casillas. “I would like to thank the faculty, staff and administration for the fantastic work they have done to keep our students on track and continue our record of success. I know they will continue to take Palo Alto even further on its journey to greater excellence.” he added.

The College will allocate the unrestricted funds to three areas of need: 1) scholarships for AlamoPROMISE students  – an Alamo Colleges District program, which eliminates financial barriers to higher education, making a college degree a reality; 2) programming provided through the S.H.A.R.E. Center, an on-campus resource that helps address students’ basic needs, like food and healthcare; and 3) Educate South – a Palo Alto College-led initiative to be announced in early 2021, that will focus on beginning educational awareness at the earliest years by building public and private partnerships that create and sustain a college-going culture.

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Garza and the entire Palo Alto College family for being recognized with this very generous gift. In this season of giving and joy, is provides all of us at Palo Alto College and the Alamo Colleges District a very special reason to be thankful and hopeful for the future, at the end of a year when hope and faith in our future is sorely needed,” Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores.

Scott has donated to hundreds of organizations leading transformative work in various areas of need: Racial Equity, LGBTQ+ Equity, Economic Mobility, Empathy & Bridging Divides, Functional Democracy, Public Health, Global Development, and Climate Change.

Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, is a Rising Star winner of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, and is celebrating its 35-year anniversary. With over 11,000 students, Palo Alto College is accredited to offer associate degrees and short-term certificates. The College is located on the south side of San Antonio at 1400 W. Villaret Blvd. at I-410 and Texas Hwy 16 and online at

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