One of the richest people in the world, MacKenzie Scott, gave away about $ 1 billion a month in late 2020, a staggering amount that sets a high score for tech billionaires in terms of speed.
Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced on Tuesday that she had donated $ 4 billion to just under 400 nonprofits in the past four months. In the past year, Scott has emerged as one of the most openly generous philanthropists, parting ways with $ 6 billion and bolstering her profile following her record-breaking divorce from Bezos, the world’s richest person.
Scott said earlier this summer that she had changed her last name and already donated $ 1.7 billion of her fortune – donations that had already made her one of the world’s billionaires giving her money away the fastest, something even well-intentioned billionaires struggled with. to have. . Many of the richest in the tech industry, including those trying to become great philanthropists, have only seen their fortunes grow in 2020.
Scott explicitly pointed out the dual reality in 2020 for billionaires and the rest of America as the pandemic is ravaging the country and mostly affecting the citizens with the lowest incomes. That kind of rhetoric is something that billionaires often don’t like to touch when they publish their philanthropy.
“This pandemic has wrecked the lives of Americans already struggling. Both economic losses and health outcomes are worse for women, people of color and those living in poverty, ”she wrote in her Medium post. “Meanwhile, it has significantly increased the wealth of billionaires.”
Scott, a novelist who referred to Emily Dickinson in her announcement on Tuesday, played a pivotal role in Amazon’s early days, but remained unremarkable before divorcing Bezos in 2019. Scott got $ 38 billion in that split, a war chest. that has grown to more than $ 60 billion as Amazon stock has skyrocketed in the past two years.
While that was happening, Scott has cautiously stepped out into the open more and more. Her donations have made her a reluctant and even unlikely spokesperson for billionaires to donate their money urgently, rather than storing their wealth in private foundations or family offices or in bequests to their children. Just months after her divorce, Scott signed the Giving Pledge – the pledge to give away at least half of your money – which she and her then notoriously thrifty husband turned down when they were married and which he still hasn’t done himself.
Scott opened the curtain on her giving strategy on Tuesday. Recoding has previously been reported that it is at least partially using a donor-advised fund – a controversial vehicle offering little transparency – and work with the consultancy firm Bridgespan and her co-founder, Tom Tierney, to advise her.
Scott added that her team was considering donations to about 6,500 organizations before reducing them to 384 groups. Then, she said, “they get out of the way.”
Not only are nonprofits chronically underfunded, they are chronically distracted from their work by fundraising and heavy reporting requirements that donors often place on them, she wrote. She did it differently, telling the nonprofits she chose that “the full pledge would be prepaid and left unrestricted to give them maximum flexibility.”
Scott hasn’t disclosed the amounts she’s given to any nonprofit, but the list includes historically black colleges, food banks across the country (a cause also prioritized by her ex-husband), and YMCAs.