MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, made headlines in 2023 for selling about a quarter of her stake in the e-commerce giant, which was worth more than $10.4 billion, according to a report by Bloomberg¹. Scott, who helped Bezos build the company as one of its first employees, still owns 1.9% of Amazon, which makes up the bulk of her $37.6 billion net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index².
But Scott is not just a billionaire investor. She is also a novelist and a philanthropist who has pledged to donate at least half of her fortune to charity over the course of her lifetime. In 2019, she signed The Giving Pledge, a non-binding promise that billionaires make to give away their wealth³. Since then, she has donated more than $16 billion to over 1,900 organizations, according to her website⁴.
Scott’s donations have focused on causes such as racial equity, gender equality, education, health, climate change, and social justice. She has also supported organizations that are led by or serve women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and other marginalized groups. Some of the recipients of her generosity include historically black colleges and universities, Native American tribes, food banks, community foundations, and grassroots nonprofits⁵.
Scott has been praised for her approach to philanthropy, which is transparent, data-driven, and empowering. She has shared her giving process and criteria on her website, where she also acknowledges the role of luck and privilege in her wealth. She has also entrusted the organizations she supports with full discretion over how to use the funds, without imposing any restrictions or requirements. She has said that she trusts them to know best how to serve their communities.
Scott’s philanthropy has also been remarkable for its speed and scale. She has given away more money in a shorter period of time than any other donor in history, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She has also inspired other wealthy individuals to follow her example and increase their giving. For instance, Scott’s former husband, Jeff Bezos, who has been criticized for his lack of philanthropy, announced in 2023 that he would donate $10 billion to fight climate change.
Scott has said that she will continue to give away her money until “the safe is empty”. She has also expressed her hope that her donations will catalyze systemic change and create a more equitable and inclusive society. She has written: “We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. 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. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
Jeff Bezos’ ex wife sold $10.4 billion worth of Amazon shares last year …. https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/mackenzie-scott-sold-10-4-billion-worth-amazon-shares-2023
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