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MacKenzie Scott, billionaire philanthropist. Last month she announced that her donations since 2019 have totaled more than $14 billion and helped fund around 1,600 nonprofits. But as much as the scale, it is her untraditional style of giving that is causing a stir. Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images hide caption

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Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Many of the women in Sangeeta Siwan's Mumbai neighborhood lost their jobs during the pandemic, but they banded together to help each other through the lockdowns. From left to right: Kalawanti Yadav, Sageeta Wadule, Sangeeta Pandey and Ambika Kalshetty. Ruchi Kumar hide caption

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Ruchi Kumar

The headquarters of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails in Albuquerque, N.M., is shown on June 7, 2021. Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated $84.5 million to Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 of its local branches. Susan Montoya Bryan/AP hide caption

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Susan Montoya Bryan/AP

Artis Stevens, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, says MacKenzie's Scott's gift to the mentoring organization will be "transformative." Big Brothers Big Sisters of America hide caption

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

MacKenzie Scott, seen here in 2018, has given more than $4 billion to charitable organizations in the last four months. Her gifts target groups that fulfill basic needs for those struggling economically during the pandemic as well as those that work to fix systemic inequities. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP hide caption

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Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Marc Lavarin, an assistant minister at Alfred Street Baptist Church, hugs Howard University student Mya Thompson after she learns the church's members have paid the $2,500 she owed the university. Charles Matthews/Alfred Street Baptist Church hide caption

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Charles Matthews/Alfred Street Baptist Church

Albert Lexie pushes his shoeshine cart at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. By the time he retired in December 2013, the hospital reported he had given $202,000 to the Free Care Fund, which provides financial assistance for under- and uninsured children. Lexie died of an undisclosed health condition. UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh hide caption

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UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Philanthropy In America Is Becoming 'Ideological Arms Race,' Author Says

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(Left) A firefighter's boot used to collect money from motorists for the "Fill the Boot" campaign for muscular dystrophy which started in 1954. (Center) A Habitat for Humanity belt was used by a volunteer in rebuilding homes in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. (Right) Bucket used by Jeanette Senerchia in 2014 launching the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Courtesy of National Museum of American History hide caption

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Courtesy of National Museum of American History

A Giving History: Smithsonian Exhibit Showcases Americans' Charitable Acts

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