A month after her divorce from the wealthiest man on the planet, MacKenzie Scott signed the Giving Pledge and promised to give away her billions “until the safe is empty.” A year on, she has revealed how she’s been acting on that declaration.
When Scott officially split from the Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in April 2019, ending a 25-year marriage, she received $38 billion as part of the settlement. Per Bloomberg’s latest estimate, her net worth now stands at $60.8 billion.
On July 28, she recently revealed in a blog post, what she’s been doing with some of her billions:
“Last fall, I asked a team of non-profit advisors with key representation from historically marginalized race, gender, and sexual identity groups to help me find and assess organizations having major impact on a variety of causes.”
Following up on the commitment I made last year to give away the majority of my wealth in my lifetime: https://t.co/Ocb8eU5UR1. (Note my Medium account is under my new last name — changed back to middle name I grew up with, after my grandfather Scott.)
— MacKenzie Scott (@mackenziebezos) July 28, 2020
Since then, 116 organizations around the world have received $1.7 billion in donations from Scott.
From Black Girls Code to the COVID-19 response effort, every one of the recipients, writes Scott, “is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Point Foundation, which gives scholarships to LGBTQ+ students, is one of the organizations that has benefitted from this spate of philanthropy. Its CEO told the Chronicle of Philanthropy that the charity did not apply for a grant and had no connection to Scott. The “very generous gift” Jorge Valencia and the team received “was a gift that just fell from the sky.” He added, “To have somebody believe in you means a lot.”
Scott is not the only billionaire to promise to give away their wealth before they die. The Giving Pledge—an initiative sparked nearly a decade ago by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—has been signed by 204 wealthy individuals, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Airbnb cofounder Vrian Chesky. Notably, Jeff Bezos has not signed the pledge.
Several Historically Black Colleges have already received grants from Scott, including Morehouse and Howard Universities. If this first year of donations is anything to go by, nonprofits devoted to the climate crisis and the environment will also benefit from her billions, having already received $125,000,000, so far. Economic mobility is also on her list of causes to support, saying she’s given $399,500,000 to various groups to date.
Scott, an award-winning novelist who describes herself as a “mom, writer, advocate,” wrote on Giving Pledge, “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait.”