Keeping up with the Winners: Sarita E. Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia in Education

November 2, 2021

Sarita E. BrownExcelencia in Education, co-founded in 2004 by McGraw Prize winner, Sarita E. Brown, recently received the largest gift in the organization’s history from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett. During the summer of 2020, MacKenzie Scott announced a commitment to sharing the wealth she has accumulated by donating to “equity-oriented nonprofits working in … communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.” As part of this commitment, she has donated nearly $9 billion to high impact organizations already, with plans for more donations to come. In her initial announcement, Scott stated a specific commitment to donating to institutions and organizations that provide pathways to higher education for underserved communities.

Just a week after publicly sharing this philanthropic vision, it was announced that Scott would donate $10 million to Excelencia in Education because of its “data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results.” As part of Excelencia in Education’s commitment to data-driven analysis, the organization has become a well-known authority on identifying and supporting colleges and universities that have proven their commitment to creating learning environments where Latino students thrive. As such, the press release from the organization noted as a point of pride that 13 of the 29 total colleges and universities that received investments from Scott and Jewett are a part of Excelencia in Education's Presidents for Latino Student Success (PL4SS) network. PL4SS is a professional network facilitated by Excelencia in Education that brings together university presidents and chancellors to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships, and amplify current efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

Excelencia in Education co-founder and CEO, Deborah Santiago, referred to the gift as an "investment" in and "down payment on the momentum we are building strategically to transform higher education to serve our students." 2009 McGraw Prize Winner, co-founder and President of Excelencia in Education, Sarita E. Brown noted the important work that Excelencia in Education has worked towards and continues to do in "Ensuring America's Future and engaging institutions whose leaders are ready to transform and intentionally SERVE Latino students."