Mackenzie Scott donates US$1.7 billion since Bezos divorce

MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, has donated US$1.7 billion to “116 organisations driving change”.

MacKenzie Scott, who was MacKenzie Bezos for 16 years before divorcing Jeff Bezos for adultery in 2019 and becoming the third-wealthiest woman in the world largely due to her US$38 billion divorce settlement, has given an update on Medium that reveals she has changed her surname from Bezos and the causes she has already supported.

MacKenzie Scott, who was married to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, for 16 years.

“Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty,” writes MacKenzie Scott, who reduced her stake in Amazon by about US$400 million in January. “There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.”

“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilisation this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change. People troubled by recent events can make new connections between privileges they’ve enjoyed and benefits they’ve taken for granted. From there, many will choose to share some of what they have with people whose equal participation is essential to the construction of a better world.”

MacKenzie Scott, a writer who also is the executive director of Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying organisation she founded, also said that she has changed her last name to the middle name she grew up with.

Jeff Bezos began an affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV news anchor, while still married to MacKenzie. Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott have four children: three sons and a daughter adopted from China.

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Amazon and Blue Origin CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos has committed $10 billion to Bezos Earth Fund

“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. Last fall, I asked a team of non-profit advisors with key representation from historically marginalised race, gender, and sexual identity groups to help me find and assess organisations having major impact on a variety of causes. Though this work is ongoing and will last for years, I’m posting an update today because my own reflection after recent events revealed a dividend of privilege I’d been overlooking: the attention I can call to organisations and leaders driving change,” she continued.

The non-profits listed below were selected for transformative work in one of the following areas of need:

Total given to date:

  • Racial Equity: US$586,700,000
  • LGBTQ+ Equity: US$46,000,000
  • Gender Equity: US$133,000,000
  • Economic Mobility: US$399,500,000
  • Empathy & Bridging Divides: US$55,000,000
  • Functional Democracy: US$72,000,000
  • Public Health: US$128,300,000
  • Global Development: US$130,000,000
  • Climate Change: US$125,000,000
MacKenzie Scott has publicly said she will give away most of her fortune

“On this list, 91% of the racial equity organisations are run by leaders of colour, 100% of the LGBTQ+ equity organisations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders, and 83% of the gender equity organisations are run by women, bringing lived experience to solutions for imbalanced social systems. Driven by a deep belief in the value different backgrounds bring to problem-solving on any issue, we selected for diversity in leadership across all categories of giving, supporting vital variety of perspective and experience in solutions on every cause. All of these leaders and organisations have a track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields. I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts. Unless organisation leadership requested otherwise, all commitments were paid up front and left unrestricted to provide them with maximum flexibility. I recommend these organisations to anyone similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress. Every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. And every one of them would benefit from more allies looking to share wealth of all types and sizes, including money, volunteer time, supplies, advocacy, publicity, networks and relationships, collaboration, encouragement, and trust,” MacKenzie Scott writes.

“The Glasswing is a tiny butterfly with invisible wings that can carry 40 times its own weight. Over the last fourteen months, I’ve been inspired by the capacity of individuals to lift others: an association of women professionals mentoring girls through the same program that paid for their own educations; a network of low-income families lifting themselves out of poverty by supporting and advising each other.

“The organisations named below offer a daily reminder that we can each carry more than we imagine. And they offer an opportunity to invest our good fortune in change, no matter what form our good fortune has taken.

“I’ll highlight more as my giving continues in the months and years to come.”

  • A Call to Men
  • ACEGID & Broad Institute — Sentinel
  • Advancement Project
  • All Our Kin
  • American Indian Graduate Center
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC
  • Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
  • Black Girls CODE
  • Blackbird
  • Blue Meridian Partners
  • BRAC — Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiatives
  • Camelback Ventures
  • CAMFED
  • Campaign Legal Center
  • Capital Impact Partners
  • Center for Election Innovation & Research
  • Center for Policing Equity
  • Centering Healthcare Institute
  • Co-Impact
  • Collective Future Fund
  • College Track
  • Common Cause Education Fund
  • Community Change
  • Crisis Text Line
  • Echoing Green
  • Educate Girls
  • Encore.org
  • END Fund — Deworming Innovation Fund
  • Energy Foundation China
  • Energy Foundation US
  • Equality Can’t Wait Challenge
  • European Climate Foundation
  • Facing History and Ourselves
  • Family Independence Initiative
  • Fast Grants
  • First Nations Development Institute
  • Forward Together
  • Fund for Trans Generations
  • Futures Without Violence
  • George W. Bush Presidential Center
  • GirlTrek
  • GiveDirectly — US Response and Africa Response
  • GLSEN
  • Grameen America
  • Grantmakers for Girls of Color
  • Greater Good Science Center
  • Groundswell Fund
  • Hampton University
  • Harlem Children’s Zone — COVID-19 Relief and Recovery
  • Highlander Research and Education Center
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund
  • Hope Enterprise Corporation
  • Howard University
  • Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
  • Independent Sector
  • Interfaith Youth Core
  • International Trans Fund
  • Jackie Robinson Foundation
  • Lambda Legal
  • LatinoJustice
  • Leadership Conference Education Fund
  • Living Goods + Last Mile Health — COVID-19 Response
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Low Income Investment Fund
  • Millennial Action Project
  • Morehouse College
  • Movement for Black Lives
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Narrative 4
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • National Urban League
  • National Women’s Law Center
  • Obama Foundation
  • One Acre Fund
  • One Fair Wage
  • Opportunity Fund
  • Othering and Belonging Institute
  • Oweesta Corporation
  • Partners in Health — StopCOVID
  • PFLAG National
  • Point Foundation
  • PolicyLink
  • Posse Foundation
  • Potential Energy Coalition
  • Project Echo — COVID-19 Response
  • RAINN
  • SAGE
  • Seattle Foundation — COVID-19 Response Fund
  • Share Our Strength / No Kid Hungry
  • SIRUM
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Southern Coalition for Social Justice
  • Southerners on New Ground
  • Spelman College
  • State Infrastructure Fund
  • State Voices
  • StoryCorps
  • The Nature Conservancy — Blue Bonds & US Climate Action
  • The On Being Project
  • The Opportunity Agenda
  • The Trevor Project
  • TheDream.US
  • Thorn
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • Transgender Law Center
  • Tuskegee University
  • UNCF (United Negro College Fund)
  • UnidosUS
  • United Way of King County — Community Relief Fund
  • Voter Engagement Fund
  • W. Haywood Burns Institute
  • With Honor
  • World Central Kitchen — Oakland
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

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