Benefits Data Trust Welcomes $20 Million Gift from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Gift will support national nonprofit’s work modernizing public benefits systems to ensure all eligible families have dignified, efficient access to food, healthcare, and other critical assistance

PHILADELPHIA, Pa, March 22, 2022 – Benefits Data Trust (BDT) today announced it has received a $20 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This one-time, unrestricted funding will help accelerate and expand the organization’s work to both modernize public benefits systems for the future and remove barriers that prevent people eligible today from accessing vital assistance and living healthier, more financially secure lives.  

“We are incredibly appreciative of this extraordinarily generous gift from MacKenzie Scott. It is a testament to the importance of Benefits Data Trust’s work to improve health and economic mobility by increasing equitable access to assistance,” said Trooper Sanders, CEO of Benefits Data Trust. “Nobody should have to choose between putting food on the table, heating their homes, or taking medicine. This gift will help us more rapidly scale our work and innovations to fundamentally modernize how people access assistance.”

Despite the fact that each year millions of people struggle to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, more than $60 billion in benefit programs — such as SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps), WIC, Pell Grants and Medicaid — are left untapped annually nationwide. BDT helps to connect people to available assistance by informing them of their eligibility and often submitting applications on their behalf. To date, BDT has submitted more than 1 million benefits applications, helping to secure over $9 billion worth of food, medicine, housing, and more for families and individuals nationwide.  

Research shows that benefits can increase test scores, graduation rates, and employment; improve health outcomes and lower healthcare spending; and put people on a path to economic mobility. 

Founded in 2005, BDT provides individuals with personalized one-on-one benefits screening and application assistance and designs technology solutions and digital products to help them navigate common barriers to benefits access, such as lack of awareness about programs and eligibility and daunting applications. BDT also partners with government agencies to provide technical assistance and adopt policy solutions to help them create more human-centered, equitable, and efficient benefits systems. 

The gift from Scott comes at a time of innovation at BDT, as the organization is testing several paths to scaling dignified, equitable access to benefits across the country to help close the gap in benefits enrollment. Grounded in BDT’s foundation of direct service, data and technology, and policy, this work includes helping government to fundamentally modernize its delivery of benefits services, integrating benefits access in key sectors such as healthcare and higher education, and elevating participant voices, especially those from historically marginalized communities as part of advancing racial equity. 


About Benefits Data Trust  

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) improves health and financial security by harnessing the power of data, technology, and policy to provide dignified and equitable access to assistance. Together with a national network of government agencies and partners, we efficiently connect people today to programs that pay for food, healthcare, and more while helping to modernize benefits access for tomorrow. A nonprofit since 2005, BDT has secured more than $9 billion in benefits for households across the country, helping to reduce hunger and poverty and build pathways to economic mobility.