MacKenzie Scott, the philanthropist and ex-spouse of Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, has recently announced that she has made a fresh round of donations to 286 organizations in the United States of America. The total donations are up to $2.7 billion. The list of recipients was announced through a recent medium blog post.
“Sitting down to write this post, I felt stuck, I want to de-emphasize privileged voices and cede focus to others, yet I know some media stories will focus on wealth”. Scott is currently the 22nd richest person in the world.
MacKenzie expressed how she wished she could have titled her post “286 Teams Empowering Voices the World Needs to Hear” because she was “attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change”.
She spoke amid the recent news that was reported by ProPublica, which revealed that some of the world’s richest including her ex-husband, Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos paid a lot less in taxes relative to their immense wealth.
She wrote in her blog post “We are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others”.
Scott explained that a lot of her latest donations are focused on higher education, groups bridging divides through interfaith support, arts and culture, anti-poverty organizations that are led by people of colour and grassroots groups supporting local communities.
Although she refused to disclose how she disbursed each grant, she revealed that the total was running into $2.739 billion. Assuming all the grants received an equal amount that would be $10 million each to the 289 organisations. However, one recipient, the Children’s defence fund commented that they received $20 million “the largest contribution” in its history.
One interesting fact is that MacKenzie’s recipients are usually groups that assist with philanthropic giving. For example, Kiva makes micro-loans, Give Directly gives loans to the poorest people in Africa.
Scott has also given to the Decolonizing Wealth Project which aims to redistribute wealth to black people, indigenous and initiatives led by people of colour; DonorsChoose, a nonprofit that allows teachers to crowdfund for their classrooms; Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that rehabilitates former gang members and helps them become contributing members of society and Faith in Action which helps religious people work towards achieving a just and fair society.
Arts organisations were not excluded from the donations as the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the L.A. Arts Endowment Fund were also beneficiaries.
Forbes estimates that MacKenzie Scott has given almost $6billion in 2020 to about 500 organisations. Scott has also signed to the Giving Pledge, pledging to give up half of her entire fortune to charity in her lifetime or after her death.