Mackenzie Scott, the former wife of founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has donated $1.7 billion of her private fortune to 116 charities.
What We Know:
- Scott’s charitable donations succeed on her signing The Giving Pledge in May 2019, where she pledged to donate most of her wealth to charities. “In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait,” the novelist stated.
- The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic campaign founded by Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, and celebrated investor, Warren Buffett. Founded in 2010, The Giving Pledge has raised 204 billionaire pledgers, which include Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Among the pledgers is fashion mogul Diane von Furstenberg and, although not listed in the pledger’s list of supporters, Jeff Bezos is at an estimated $115 billion, among other pledgers, Bloomberg Billionaires Index stated.
- Scott wanted to make sure the awards were delivered to organizations devoted to racial and gender equality, economic mobility, public health, and more. In her Medium article, she states, “I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions.”
- Donation receivers include Black Girls Code, an agency who works with women of color to increase their presence in digital and computing fields, Morehouse College, one of the nation’s top historically Black colleges, and The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization founded in 1998 focusing on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.
- Most organizations awarded released public statements of gratitude and transparency on how they planned to use the funds. The president of Morehouse stated, “Mackenzie Scott’s beneficent gift to Morehouse and several of our companion institutions in the HBCU network is an investment into the future of Black excellence”. All of the organizations are predominantly led by those affected by social injustices.
“Mackenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her. Her letter is so beautiful. Go get ‘em Mackenzie,” Jeff Bezos congratulated Scott on Twitter Tuesday.
- Scott provided an estimate saying that she donated about $600 million in funds to racial equity and about $400 million to economic mobility, $133 million to gender equity causes, $130 million to global development, and more than $128 million to public health causes. In addition to the that, she also donated $125 million to climate change groups, $72 million to “functional democracy” causes, $46 million to LGBTQ equity causes, and $55 million to causes related to “empathy & bridging divides. The unrestricted, up-front donations totaled out to about $1.68 billion. “I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts,” she wrote.
Mackenzie Scott, 50, is currently the third-richest woman, with a net worth of $60.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. She has pledged to continue to give her wealth “back to the society that helped generate it” and keep at it til “the safe is empty”.