How much money has Mackenzie Scott given away to non-profit organizations?
The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos promised to donate most of her fortune to charity, as part of Bill Gates’ The Giving Pledge initiative.
Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has announced that she and husband Dan Jewett are parting ways, less than two years after announcing her intention to give away her vast fortune.
Scott was previously married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for 26 years, before they divorced in 2019. After the couple split Scott was awarded $35.6 billion worth of Amazon stock, making her the third-wealthiest woman in the world at the time.
In September 2020 Scott became the world’s wealthiest woman and by December her personal fortune had soared to $62 billion. However in 2019, shortly after the divorce, she signed the Giving Pledge, making her part of a charitable campaign to encourage the super-rich to give away the majority of their wealth during their lifetime.
How much has Mackenzie Scott given to charity so far?
In March this year the New York Times reported that Scott had given away more than $12 billion to a wide range of charitable causes. The report only covered the years 2020 through early 2022 but it was enough to make her one of the most philanthropic individuals in the world.
She has spoken about the donations in a series of posts on her Medium website, which she continues to update periodically. In the most recent essay, published in March 2022, she listed new donations totalling around $3.9 billion to 465 different non-profit groups in the previous nine months alone. She typically helps fund initiatives focused on climate change on education, but also gives to newly-identified issues like the Ukraine relief efforts.
She wrote: “Our team’s focus over these last nine months has included some new areas, but as always our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds.”
Of the most recent batch of donations reported, one of the largest was the $436 million gifted to Habitat for Humanity International. The non-governmental organisation helps fund building projects in disadvantaged communities in more than 70 countries.
There was also a $275 million donation to Planned Parenthood, which was the largest gift from a single donor in the organisation’s history.
In a statement Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said: “At such a critical time for reproductive health and rights, this investment and expression of confidence in Planned Parenthood will help us to be as strong as we can be to meet the moment.”
What is The Giving Pledge?
Scott’s incredible philanthropy is part of an initiative founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet which encourages the extremely wealthy to commit to donate a large proportion of their fortune. The Giving Pledge was unveiled in June 2010 with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and George Lucas amongst the first wave of super-wealthy individuals to sign up.
Since then the number of signatories has swelled to 236 people from 28 countries. Each member authors a letter pledging a proportion of their fortune to charitable causes of the course of their lives. But despite the name, signatories are not legally bound to follow through on that commitment.
Upon announcing the initiative in 2010, founded Bill Gates wrote: “This is about building on a wonderful tradition of philanthropy that will ultimately help the world become a much better place.”