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Spy Hop receives $3 million from ex-wife of Amazon CEO

Kasandra VerBrugghen, Spy Hop executive director
Posted at 12:36 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 14:49:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah nonprofit Sky Hop was on the receiving end of a $3 million gift from an unlikely source: philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who plans to give away her divorce settlement of $60 billion to charitable causes, according to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Spy Hop is an arts education nonprofit with a focus on teaching young people how to create film, videos, music, and computer games.

Calling the gift “stunning,” Spy Hop Executive Director Kasandra VerBrugghen said that it “validates the work our staff does to mentor young people to find their voice, tell their stories and create positive change in their lives and the world.”

This is the organization's largest gift to date, and comes with no conditions on how it should be spent.

Ms. Scott received 4% of the total shares of Amazon in 2019, reports the Tribune, a value that at the time was worth $36 billion but has now grown to $60 billion.

She has already given away more than $8 billion, but plans to give away rest of her fortune, with her most recent gifts targeting higher education institutions, groups “bridging divides through interfaith support and collaboration” to battle racial and ethnic discrimination, and arts and cultural organizations.

The donation “comes at a pivotal time for our organization, it gives us the ability to think deeply, dream big, and ultimately create a plan that will guide our organization forward,” said VerBrugghen.

Spy Hop recently moved into the 22,000-square-foot Kahlert Youth Media Arts Center in Salt Lake City’s Central Ninth neighborhood.