MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is not only one of the richest women in the world — but she’s also one of the most charitable, announcing that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, have recently donated an additional $2.74 billion to organizations focused on the arts and fighting racial discrimination. Combined with donations the pair announced over the course of 2020, Scott and Jewett have now given away more than $8.5 billion to charity in less than a year.
Alexis Benveniste of CNN Business reported that Scott’s 2019 divorce and settlement with Bezos, who is valued at more than $190 billion, left the novelist and philanthropist with a fortune estimated at more than $59 billion. Scott later married Jewett in March 2021.
“In May 2019, shortly before her divorce to Bezos was final, Scott joined The Giving Pledge, a campaign created by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Melinda Gates that encourages extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes,” Benveniste reported.
Jewett, too, announced that he was committing to the Giving Pledge after marrying Scott, saying, “it is strange to be writing a letter indicating I plan to give away the majority of my wealth during my lifetime, as I have never sought to gather the kind of wealth required to feel like saying such a thing would have a particular meaning.”
According to Benveniste, “Scott’s net worth has soared as Amazon’s stock surged during the pandemic. In July 2020, she announced that she had given away $1.7 billion of her fortune to 116 organizations to ‘areas of need,’ including racial equity, LGBTQ+ equity, functional democracy and climate change. And in December, Scott announced that she donated another $4.2 billion to [an additional] 384 organizations.”
With her most recent donation, which has been spread between 286 organizations, Scott is attempting to help support “high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”
Organizations Scott is helping to support with her most recent donation include the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund; the Asian American Federation; the Emerging LGBTQ Leaders of Color Fund; and the National Equity Project.
In the statement published on Medium announcing her donations, Scott also added that she wants to “de-emphasize privileged voices” and “cede focus” to organizations in need.
“People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change that they are creating,” Scott wrote. “Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors — we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change.”
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