MacKenzie Scott Helped Build Amazon and Shares Her Wealth

One billion dollars can feed many families. MacKenzie Scott — Amazon's earliest employee — has been sharing her wealth through philanthropy.

Rachel Curry - Author

Dec. 16 2020, Published 10:45 a.m. ET

MacKenzie Scott shared a Medium post on Dec. 15 about her latest philanthropic efforts. The author and former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared that she donated $4.3 billion to 384 organizations in the past four months.

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This isn't the first time that Scott has divulged her charity work. In fact, she has donated more than $6 billion in 2020 alone. Her philanthropy is widespread from food banks to historically black colleges. Scott's wealth comes from Amazon, but what exactly was her role in the e-commerce giant's success?  

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How did MacKenzie Scott help build Amazon?

You may know the story about how Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage. You may have heard that he's self-made, but that isn't entirely true. He had a $250,000 loan from his parents and his former wife helped him build the company. 

Technically, Scott was Amazon's first employee. She met Bezos when they both worked for a company called D.E. Shaw — a quantitative hedge fund in New York City. Although Bezos was her senior at the hedge fund, they were on a more even playing field after Amazon started. Scott helped Bezos get the company off the ground.

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MacKenzie Scott kept Amazon stake after divorce

Currently, Scott's wealth stems from her massive stake in Amazon. Her source of wealth is a juxtaposition to her philanthropic behaviors. 

By providing numerous grants to small organizations with few (if any) strings attached, Scott's donations go against traditional tech leaders like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. While she spearheads an anti-bullying organization called Bystander Revolution, Scott isn't starting a massive organization, which is often a complaint of tech industry philanthropy. She is providing philanthropy in the way she sees fit.

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Despite taking a different path from her peers, Scott does use funds that come from Amazon. Overall, Amazon is a controversial corporation. The company has added more than $600 billion to its market capitalization in 2020 when more Americans than ever are struggling to make it. Scott is toeing a line between two worlds and might be trying to reconcile them.

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In her post, Scott wrote, "This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. 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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How much is Mackenzie Scott worth?

Scott retained $35.6 billion worth of stake after her divorce from Bezos. Her overall net worth is likely growing as a result of billionaire-level investments, but with her rapid donations, she may be breaking even. 

Reportedly, Scott's net worth is somewhere around $59.8 billion.

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Mackenzie Scott has published two novels

Scott published "The Testing of Luther Albright" in 2005. The novel is about a controlling father who tries, and fails, to engineer his family's happiness. Scott went on to publish "Traps" in 2013, which is a fiction book about haunting movie star drama.

Prior to her publications, Scott received a bachelors in English from Princeton University. She studied under Toni Morrison, a legendary American novelist who wrote books like "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eye." 


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