MacKenzie Scott Makes Historic Gift to the Florence Project


MacKenzie Scott Donates $10 Million to the Florence Project to Pursue Its Vision for Representation for All 



The Florence Project is thrilled to share that we received a $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to launch our vision of legal representation for all people facing deportation in Arizona! 

Ms. Scott’s incredible generosity represents the largest gift from a single donor in the Florence Project’s nearly 35-year history. This gift provides a foundational investment for our launch of a representation-for-all legal services model in Arizona. This model will demonstrate how a public defender-style system can work in immigration proceedings to ensure that detained immigrants receive access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely.  

Launching a representation-for-all legal services model in Arizona is a groundbreaking step in our pursuit of a more just world for immigrants in the United States, and it will be nothing short of transformative in the hostile terrain in which we work, where the vast majority of people are forced to represent themselves and some judges deny more than 90% of cases.  

We thank Ms. Scott for trusting in our stewardship of this generous gift, which will launch the next era of the Florence Project’s vision: no adult or child in immigration detention should be forced to appear in court alone.  We also thank all of you for your continued support, which is needed to further build and sustain this vision as, together, we develop a transformational system in which all people facing deportation have an attorney by their side.   

This is a critically important time to welcome people to the United States with dignity, to provide robust, holistic services to people in immigration detention, and to reclaim the national narrative through advocacy and communications. People in immigration detention are 10 times more likely to win their case and seven times more likely to be released from immigration custody when they have legal representation.   

As the Florence Project scales up a representation-for-all program and pursues greater systemic change through additional advocacy, appellate, and communications work, this gift will enable access to justice, ensure immigrants are treated more fairly and humanely, and save lives of those fleeing persecution and violence.   

For more than thirty years, the Florence Project has been the eyes and ears on-the-ground in the Arizona desert. We have not hesitated to sound the alarm and respond to affronts to the rights of immigrants: from providing trauma-informed services to young children and reuniting families during the family separation crisis to building a Border Action Team to serve migrants displaced by policies that restrict access to asylum. We thank you for standing with us as we seek to address the systematic injustice that occurs when people are forced to defend themselves from deportation without a lawyer by their side.   

The work ahead of us will require your continued support. Thank you for standing with us!