Just one week after Durham residents voted to approve a $423.5 million bond referendum for Durham Public Schools (DPS), the historically underfunded school district has received another financial boost in the form of an unsolicited $18 million grant from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The grant is a drop in the bucket for Scott—who has given away more than $14 billion since her 2019 divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos—but a wealth of resources for DPS, whose administrators yesterday announced that they will work in tandem with school board members to prioritize the use of the funds. (As the INDY previously reported, the district plans to use the majority of its bond referendum money to fund much-needed repairs for existing schools and to back the construction of a new elementary school and a new Durham School of the Arts campus.)

“I want to thank Ms. Scott for witnessing and supporting the great work of DPS educators and staff to support students and families,” said Bettina Umstead, chair of the DPS Board of Education, in a release. “We will focus on using this to enhance our work with schools that will ignite the limitless potential of our students.”

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle. 

Follow Staff Writer Lena Geller on Twitter or send an email to lgeller@indyweek.com. Comment on this story at backtalk@indyweek.com