MacKenzie Scott is giving away her fortune at an unprecedented pace, donating more than $ 4 billion in four months after announcing $ 1.7 billion in gifts in July.
The 18th-richest person in the world outlined the latest contributions in a blog post on Tuesday, saying she asked her team to find out how to give away her fortune more quickly. Scott’s wealth is up $ 23.6 billion this year to $ 60.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, like Amazon.com Inc., the main source of its fortune, has skyrocketed.
“This pandemic has wrecked the lives of Americans who are already struggling,” she wrote in the US post on Medium. “Both the economic losses and the health outcomes are worse for women, for people of color and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has significantly increased the wealth of billionaires. “
Scott’s gifts this year approach $ 6 billion, which, according to Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy, must be “one of the largest annual distributions by a living individual” to charities. Advisors.
Berman said Scott’s donations demonstrate that it is possible to make large sums of money quickly without nonprofits “jumping through many hoops to get the money.” The magnitude of Scott’s gifts also refutes a common theory that it is difficult to stake large amounts of money without getting into trouble or turning out to be wasted.
Scott’s advisers targeted 384 groups to receive gifts, she said in the post, after considering nearly 6,500 organizations. The donations targeted those “who operate in communities facing high food insecurity, high levels of racial inequality, high local poverty rates and low access to philanthropic capital.”
Recipients include more than 30 higher education institutions, including several tribal colleges and historically black colleges and universities. More than 40 food banks received funding, as well as nearly four dozen local affiliates from Goodwill Industries International.
Scott King, the executive director of Meals on Wheels of Tampa, said he had not even applied for the grant received. Instead, her team contacted the nonprofit, which provides food to about 850 families and prepares about 2,600 meals every day.
“This comes at a good time for us,” he said. “There are areas in and around Tampa that aren’t served and should be.”
Betsy Biemann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises Inc., based in Maine, said it received $ 10 million, which is the size of their annual operating budget. It shows how powerful Scott’s enormous fortune is, especially when she decides to give to smaller organizations.
“It’s a great day at the end of a very challenging year,” said Biemann, whose nonprofit provides funding and advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those from rural areas or disadvantaged groups.
Scott listed the names of the groups that received the money, just as she did for the 116 organizations in her July letter. In her announcement this summer, Scott said she decided to partially disclose the gifts to draw attention to “organizations and leaders driving change.”
Philanthropy experts applauded Scott’s work, not only for how quickly she gave away her fortune, but also for how she handled it.
“She shares the results of her research and criteria so that donors of all levels can learn more about organizations particularly deserving of support,” said Ray Madoff, a law professor at Boston College.
Madoff is part of a coalition of academics, major foundations and billionaire donors pushing for a reform of US philanthropic rules. More than $ 1 trillion is in foundations and donor-advised funds that can be released for charity, the group said.
Make a promise
Scott, 50, who was previously married to Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, signed the Giving Pledge in 2019 and pledged to give away most of her fortune.
“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” she says wrote in her promise. “My approach to philanthropy will remain thoughtful. It takes time, effort and care. But I’m not waiting. And I will continue until the safe is empty. “
This year was also an active year for Bezos’ philanthropy. In February, he laid out $ 10 billion on issues related to climate change, and last month announced the first of those grants, totaling nearly $ 800 million for 16 groups. He also announced a new round of funding for his Day One Fund, donating more than $ 100 million to 42 organizations fighting homelessness among families.
Bezos, 56, held three-quarters of the couple’s Amazon stock in divorce, retaining his status as the world’s richest person with a net worth of $ 185 billion, according to the Bloomberg index. His net worth is up $ 70 billion this year.
(Updates with recipient comments in the eighth paragraph.)