Dear Commons Community,
MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has donated over $4.2 billion in the last four months to 384 organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., that address pressing needs amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as those that combat entrenched inequalities.
“Some are filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable,” Scott wrote in her Medium blog post. “Others are addressing long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis: debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.”
Among the recipients of Scott’s giving are a number of colleges including HBCUs and CUNY’s Borough of Manhattan Community College and Herbert Lehman College; Meals on Wheels, United Way, Goodwill Industries, Easter Seals, YMCAs, and YWCAs.
To accelerate her 2020 giving, Scott tapped a team of advisors, using a data-driven approach to help identify “organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” she wrote.
After divorcing Bezos, Scott promised in March 2019 to give away at least half of her fortune to charity as part of the Giving Pledge, an initiative founded in 2010 by billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages the world’s richest people to donate more than half of their wealth to charitable causes.
At the time, she wrote in a letter published on the Giving Pledge website: “There are lots of resources each of us can pull from our safes to share with others. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share.”
Scott is the 18th wealthiest person in the world with an estimated $60.7 billion in net worth as of Tuesday, according to Bloomberg’s Billionare index. She is also the third richest woman in the world.
God bless her and may she be an example for others!