Facing History and Ourselves Receives Historic Grant

Facing History and Ourselves announces the organization received an historic contribution from novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Pioneering education organization fighting hate and racism receives largest gift ever.

Boston -- July 29, 2020 -- Facing History and Ourselves announced today that the organization received an historic contribution of $15 million from novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It is the single largest donation Facing History has ever received.

“We are thrilled by MacKenzie Scott’s vision and commitment,” said Roger Brooks, President and CEO of Facing History. “Last year alone, Facing History was taught in over 40,000 schools who used lessons of history to challenge millions of students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Especially now, with elevated conversation about racism, antisemitism, and demands for change, it is immensely inspiring to have our mission supported so emphatically.”

Educators across the country and around the world use Facing History’s tools and resources to explore racism and bigotry at pivotal moments in history and history in the making, from the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement to the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue and the murder of George Floyd. Facing History provides professional development to teachers, supporting them in creating “brave spaces” in the classroom to engage students in difficult topics and guide young people in exploring their identity, empathy, and compassion. “In every state in the US and in cities around the world, people are taking to the streets and social media to demand an end to racial violence and social justice for all,” said Steve Becton, Chief Officer, Equity and Inclusion. “Young people are leading the call to dismantle racism and build a more just and equitable society. At this moment, we are uniquely positioned to help students think critically about the events we are all witnessing; it is an extraordinary time for education and youth development.”

Ms. Scott’s contribution comes at an important moment in world history and in the history of the organization--teachers and families around the world are seeking assistance in helping their young people discover how they can be actors for the common good. In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required teachers to create new classroom experiences for remote learning. The pandemic has further exposed deep social and economic inequities in the US and abroad. 

This extraordinary gift will give Facing History the opportunity to innovate its digital experience for educators, expand its reach to teachers seeking curricula and training, and help financially sustain the nonprofit through a global recession. “We want to see Facing History taught in every classroom, school and district; we want the world to benefit from the transformation that every student and teacher experiences with Facing History,” said Abby Weiss, Smith Family Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer.

Facing History is currently implemented by over 120,000 educators worldwide. More than 80% of their students say they feel they are more capable of recognizing racism, antisemitism, and prejudice, and have stood up to someone who made a bigoted or racist comment. They had over five million unique visitors to their website in the last year. 99% of educators who take professional development courses would recommend them to peers.

If you would like to speak to Roger Brooks, the President and CEO, or Abby Weiss, the Chief Program Officer, please contact Valerie Linson at (617) 735-1698.

About Facing History and Ourselves

Facing History and Ourselves’ mission is to use lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. We believe the bigotry and hate that we witness today are the legacy of brutal injustices of the past. In partnership with educators around the globe, we are creating the next generation of leaders who will build a world based on knowledge and compassion, the foundation for more democratic, equitable, and just societies. We have seven offices in the US (Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Memphis, New England, New York, and San Francisco), entities in Canada and the UK, and additional partnerships around the world.

About MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott has described her recent philanthropy here .