MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of the world’s wealthiest man, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is donating $1.7 billion to Historically Black Colleges and other groups, including LGBT causes. Scott has committed to giving away half of her fortune because she believes “personal wealth is the product of a collective effort.”
MacKenzie Scott has announced that she has so far given $1.7 billion to a laundry list of institutions, which includes historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), as well as LGBT and climate change organizations, according to a statement Scott made Tuesday on Medium.
Last year, Scott said that she would give away at least half of her fortune to charity following her divorce from the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced that they were getting divorced after 25 years of marriage amid reports of Jeff Bezos’ extramarital affairs, which included leaked text messages to his mistress and naked selfies.
By April 2019, the two had disclosed in separate Twitter statements that their divorce was finalized.
Following her divorce, MacKenzie Bezos, now MacKenzie Scott, became one of the wealthiest people in the world, ranking at number 22 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a total net worth of $36.6 billion.
“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,” said Scott in her Medium post.
Scott went on to say that she believes “personal wealth is the product of a collective effort.”
“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” she added. “Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable.”
Scott added that she remains hopeful, however, because she believes she can now help society due to the “opportunities the flowed” in her life due to her being white, straight, and a woman.
“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,” said Scott. “People troubled by recent events can make new connections between privileges they’ve enjoyed and benefits they’ve taken for granted.”
“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,” she added.
Scott concluded her post by providing a list of the organizations that she — and her advisors — believe are “leaders driving change.”
“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,” she said.
To date, Scott has donated $586.7 million toward “racial equity,” $133 million toward “gender equity,” $125 million toward “climate change,” $55 million toward “empathy and bridging divides,” and $46 million toward “LGBTQ+ equity,” among other issues.