UPDATE: Miss America Organization Responds To John Oliver

UPDATE:In response to our coverage of John Oliver's segment, a spokesperson for the Miss America Organization sent us the following statement:
“John Oliver reaffirmed that the Miss America Organization (MAO) is the largest scholarship organization for women when he stated the number of scholarship dollars claimed ‘…is more than any other women-only scholarship we could find.’
We highlight the impressive, generous $45 million in scholarships made available in an effort to honor every one of our academic partners nationwide who make available cash and in-kind financial opportunities to the MAO and young women who participate in the program. Each year, more than 8,000 young women compete for scholarships through the volunteer, grassroots-driven Miss America pageant system in more than 950 local, state, and national competitions. These scholarships are awarded not just to winners of each pageant but to runners-up and participants.
As with any scholarship, the full amount awarded may not always be used as recipients’ plans change or evolve. The Miss America Organization works every day to administer these scholarships to young women across the country and encourages our participants to utilize these scholarships provided by colleges and universities nationally who partner to fund education.
The Miss America Organization is dedicated to improving the opportunities available to our program participants and remaining at the forefront of providing opportunities to women."
This story was originally published on September 22:
The Miss America pageant claims to be the largest provider of scholarships for women in the world. And, that just makes John Oliver really mad. Not only does he find the pageant itself an outdated, sexist event, but he simply refused to believe the pageant lived up to its claim — that it awarded $45 million in scholarship money per year.
In a special segment of Last Week Tonight, Oliver took the opportunity to three other organizations that not only provide scholarships for women, but don't require them to be "unmarried with a mint-condition uterus" while rewarding "working knowledge of buttock adhesive technology."
Though the Patsy Mink Foundation was unreachable for comment, both the Society of Women Engineers and the Jeanette Rankin Foundation confirm Oliver's mention donations as well as raised awareness for each of them. Plus, his jokes about the Miss America pageant are on point.
SWE says it's seen a spike in donations since last night's show. While it doesn't have total numbers yet, it says traffic to the scholarship page is up 120% compared to previous Sundays, and up 1,900% compared to the same time period one week ago. "We typically pull about 65% new visitors. Today, we're hovering around 85% new visitors," a spokeswoman for SWE told us in an email.
This morning, the JRF saw about 10 new donors give around $500. However, a spokeswoman for the foundation says: "It seems like every time I check there's a new $10, $25, or $50 donation." She also says someone signed up to be a monthly donor, which is helpful because it offers long-term support to the program. "It means a lot to know that a team of people did research, found us, liked us, and wanted to share that on a huge scale," the spokeswoman told us. "We have no doubt that this will have a much bigger impact than the support that comes in today. So many more people know about us, and the hard-working women we serve."
You can donate to SWE here and JRF here.
Below, watch Oliver's full feature on the problem with a program that prioritizes outward appearance above a working knowledge of the ISIS situation.

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