MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon centibillionaire Jeff Bezos, has become well known for her charitable donations over the past several years. Scott, whose net worth is well into the billions since her split from Bezos in 2019, is now a philanthropist who has signed the Giving Pledge.
Scott, who is also a novelist, publicly announced her most recent round of donations on June 15 via a post on the Medium website.
MacKenzie Scott’s philosophy on giving
Author David Callahan wrote about Scott in his book The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age (AP). He said that Scott differs from most philanthropists in that she doesn’t seek to control the organizations who receive her donations.
“MacKenzie Scott is doing something quite differently. She’s finding groups who have their own ideas and empowering them to do their work,” stated Callahan.
Scott signed the Giving Pledge not long after her divorce settlement. That initiative, led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, urges the world’s billionaires to pledge to donate at least half their wealth. Her new husband Dan Jewett has joined Scott in signing the pledge.
Scott’s charitable contributions no doubt provide a sharp contrast to the recent scathing ProPublica report about billionaires avoiding taxes.
She is vocal about the problems of wealth inequality in the U.S. In her announcement, she said, “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.”
How much has MacKenzie Scott given away?
Scott’s most recent donations total $2.7 billion to be allocated to 286 organizations. Recipients include higher education institutions, organizations bringing interfaith support, arts and cultural institutions, organizations working to alleviate poverty, and more, according to Medium.
In 2020, Scott’s donations totaled $6 billion, described in two separate announcements to the public. These rounds of giving focused on COVID-19 relief, gender equity, and historically Black colleges and universities and other schools.
Scott didn’t specify donation amounts in her blog post, but some organizations have publicized how much they are receiving.
These are some of the specific donation amounts for this 2021 round, according to NPR:
Florida International University—$40 million
University of Central Florida—$40 million
University of Texas at San Antonio—$40 million
Long Beach City College—$30 million
Scott’s announcement said that she and her organization devoted most of the first quarter of 2021 to researching equity-oriented non-profits that serve underfunded and neglected areas to identify donation recipients.
These are just a few of the groups receiving funds from MacKenzie Scott, according to Medium:
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
- Native Americans in Philanthropy
- Inner-City Muslim Action Network
- Japanese American National Museum
- Renaissance Youth Center
MacKenzie Scott’s net worth
As is the case with many of the world’s wealthiest individuals, Scott’s total net worth increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. NPR noted her net worth had grown from $36.1 billion in October 2019 to nearly $60 billion in 2021, according to Forbes.