MacKenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife, donates more than $4 billion to charity

MacKenzie Scott announced on Tuesday that she has given nearly $4.2 billion to 384 organizations in the past four months, bringing her year-to-date charitable contributions to nearly $6 billion.

Scott, an author and ex-wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, announced her latest gifts in a Medium post that highlighted her desire to help groups focused on basic needs, such as food banks and Meals on Wheels, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues ravaging the nation, The New York Times reported.

“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott wrote in her post. “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.”

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Scott’s post also listed the hundreds of organizations her gifts will help support, including “financial service providers for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved individuals, civil rights advocacy groups and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination,” CNN reported.

According to her post, Scott and her team considered the specific needs of nearly 6,500 organizations.

Historically Black colleges and universities – including Claflin, Virginia State and Dillard University – fared particularly well, while both Baltimore’s Morgan State University and Prairie View A&M University in Texas saw their current endowments nearly double after MacKenzie’s respective $40 million and $50 million donations, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, other organizations tapped for donations included local chapters of Goodwill, Meals on Wheels, YMCA, United Way, the NAACP, Global Fund for Women and ACE, or Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, which provides affordable loans to underserved small businesses, the network reported.

“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,” Scott wrote in her post. “Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft.”

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Chuck Collins, director of the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, told the Times that he could think of no one who had given away more this year, at least in terms of publicly announced grants

“She’s responding with urgency to the current moment,” Collins told the Times, adding, “You think of all these tech fortunes. They’re the great disrupters, but she’s disrupting the norms around billionaire philanthropy by moving quickly, not creating a private foundation for her great-grandchildren to give the money away.”

Scott’s Tuesday post came nearly five months after she announced in July donations totaling $1.7 billion to another lengthy list of awardees, including other HBCUs as well as groups supporting women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. equality and the fight against climate change.

With a net worth of nearly $61 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Scott is the world’s 18th-richest person, CNN reported.

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