But Mackenzie Scott, the billionaire ex-wife of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is bucking the trend. Since splitting with Bezos in 2019, she has given away an astonishing amount of money extremely quickly and plans to continue.
$1 billion a month
According to Scott, the pandemic has not been “the great equalizer.” As many traditionally disenfranchised have seen their incomes plummet and lived flipped on its head, billionaires have gotten richer.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
Mackenzie Scott wrote in a post on her Medium blog.
So Scott did something about it. Over the past four months she has donated “$4,158,500,000 in gifts to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.”
This is in addition to the approximately $2 billion she gave to 116 organizations that was announced in July.
No strings attached
Scott and her advisors initially looked at 6,490 organizations before cutting the numbers down to 822, and again to 384.
The point of this was to make sure the organizations had strong evidence of impact, proven management, and are a positive force both in the community and on its employees.
After the organization was picked, Scott insisted she doesn’t make any demands.
“We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached,” she wrote.
The organizations Scott gave to are listed on her blog post, and include various colleges and universities, food banks, Goodwills, United Ways and YMCAs.
She’ll keep on giving
After her divorce with Bezos, Scott was awarded $38 billion, which included Amazon shares. Since Amazon’s stock price has risen so substantially during the pandemic, her wealth is now worth $55 billion, according to Forbes.
In other words, she still has tons of money, and she plans to keep sharing it.
Shortly after the divorce, she joined Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in signing The Giving Pledge, a document created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010 urging fellow billionaires to donate at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity.
But many billionaires haven’t signed the pledge, including Scott’s ex-husband and Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
A better world is possible
If only we had the money to solve world hunger, eliminate poverty, and tip the scales for a more equal world. Just kidding, billionaires do, but some of them appear to continue to hoard their wealth.
Scott seems to be an exception and what makes her giving so extraordinary is that she’s doing it quickly when people need it the most. Hopefully, other wealthy people will follow her lead.
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