Mackenzie Bezos donates $1.7 billion to racial equality and other causes

MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $1.7 billion of her personal fortune to charity, she wrote in a Medium blog post Tuesday.

Her charitable contributions make good on her signing of the Giving Pledge in May 2019, vowing to donate the majority of her wealth to philanthropic causes over her lifetime.  

She wrote, under MacKenzie Scott — the name she now uses — that the $1.7 billion was distributed across organizations committed racial and gender equity, economic mobility, public health, climate change and more. 

Scott said she enlisted a team of non-profit advisers with representation from marginalized communities to help her identify the most effective charities she could 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,” she wrote, explaining her process. 

Recipients of funds include Black Girls Code, an organization that works to increase the number of women of color in the digital and computing fields; Howard University, a historically black university; and The Trevor Project, a national crisis-intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, among other organizations. 

In total, Scott said she contributed nearly $600 million in unrestricted funds to racial equity causes and nearly $400 million to economic mobility initiatives.

She also gave:

  • $133 million to gender equity causes
  • $130 million to global development
  • More than $128 million to public health causes
  • $125 million to climate change groups
  • $72 million to “functional democracy” causes
  • $46 milllion to LGBTQ+ equity causes
  • $55 million to causes related to “empathy & bridging divides” 

“I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts,” she wrote.

Her ex-husband, Jeff Bezos, is the richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $170 billion, as the value of Amazon stock gets a boost from quarantined online shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Scott, 50, is believed to be the third richest woman, with a net worth of $36 billion, according to Forbes. The majority of her wealth comes from her 4% stake in Amazon, which was part of her divorce settlement. 

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