MacKenzie Scott gives nearly $4.2B to charity in 4 months amid pandemic
the ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos — gave nearly $4.2 billion to charity over the last four months to support struggling Americans during the coronavirus crisis.
In a blog post Tuesday, the world’s third-richest woman said she doled out the money to 384 organizations across the country, including food banks, social services programs, civil rights groups, colleges and universities.
Scott, 50, said she decided to “accelerate” her giving to help people suffering from the pandemic’s devastation following her July announcement that she’d donated almost $1.7 billion to dozens of nonprofits. Her latest donations bring her total giving for the year to roughly $5.8 billion.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott said in her blog post, noting that the crisis has also “substantially increased” the wealth of billionaires like herself.
“It would be easy for all the people who drew the long demographic straws in this crisis to hole up at home feeling a mix of gratitude and guilt, and wait for it to be over — but that’s not what’s happening,” she added.
Scott said her team of advisers selected the recipients of her gifts from an initial pool of nearly 6,500 organizations based on their ability to use the money effectively. The advisers conducted extensive research into the charities that involved hundreds of emails and phone interviews and “thousands of pages of data analysis,” she said.
Each donation will be paid upfront and left unrestricted so the organizations have plenty of flexibility in how to use the funds, Scott said.
“The responses from people who took the calls [from Scott’s team] often included personal stories and tears,” she wrote. “… Their stories and tears invariably made me and my teammates cry.”
Scott is still a long way from fulfilling her goal of giving away more than half her wealth, which has surged by about $24 billion to roughly $61 billion so far this year, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Her roughly 4 percent stake in Amazon makes up the bulk of that fortune, Bloomberg says.
Scott set her charitable goal by signing onto the Giving Pledge in May 2019 after announcing her divorce from Bezos, who is not among the more than 200 signatories to the pledge despite being the richest man in the world.