MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife to Jeff Bezos, is putting her vast fortune to good use. Her 2019 divorce from the Amazon founder made her the third-wealthiest woman in the world, and now Scott is giving back with a number of philanthropic donations—including to at least six historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Howard University, Hampton University, Spelman College, Tuskegee University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Morehouse College have all publicly announced that they received eight-figure donations from Scott this week.
— Hampton University (@_HamptonU) July 29, 2020
A magnanimous gift from MacKenzie Scott will bolster the College’s strategic outcomes designed to educate global leaders who graduate from Spelman with a competitive edge, prepared to become successful innovators and change agents. https://t.co/slngQINNHf pic.twitter.com/RO4ajuQARF
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) July 29, 2020
#TuskegeeUniversity received a $20 million gift from philanthropist, activist and author MacKenzie Scott. President Lily D. McNair said the unrestricted donation is the largest single gift in the university’s history. Read more here: https://t.co/GQ0S84Yuqn pic.twitter.com/LdwecPxRdB
— TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY (@TuskegeeUniv) July 28, 2020
“This gift will enhance the university’s capacity to educate in the medical sciences, pharmacy, law, the arts, and the social sciences” @XULApres. Xavier receives a historic $20 Million Dollars in the largest donation in its 95 Years of Excellence! https://t.co/9Yv0qdMSK4 #XULA pic.twitter.com/TpanmFG325
— Xavier Univ. of LA (@XULA1925) July 28, 2020
— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) July 29, 2020
Scott detailed her decision to donate to the higher education institutions, in addition to many other nonprofits, in a Medium post titled “116 Organizations Driving Change.”
“Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty,” Scott writes, adding that there is “no question in [her] mind” that personal wealth is the product of a collective effort.
She then outlined why donating to minority-based organizations was so important to her:
Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change. People troubled by recent events can make new connections between privileges they’ve enjoyed and benefits they’ve taken for granted. From there, many will choose to share some of what they have with people whose equal participation is essential to the construction of a better world.
Scott went on to list out the non-profits she had selected for transformative work, by area of need and the total she’s given to date:
Racial Equity: $ 586,700,000
LGBTQ+ Equity: $ 46,000,000
Gender Equity: $ 133,000,000
Economic Mobility: $ 399,500,000
Empathy & Bridging Divides: $ 55,000,000
Functional Democracy: $ 72,000,000
Public Health: $ 128,300,000
Global Development: $ 130,000,000
Climate Change: $ 125,000,000
“On this list,” Scott continues, “91 percent of the racial equity organizations are run by leaders of color, 100 percent of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders, and 83 percent of the gender equity organizations are run by women, bringing lived experience to solutions for imbalanced social systems.”
At the end of her post, Scott also lists out all of the 119 organizations she’s donated to so far, adding that she’ll highlight more as her giving continues in the months and years to come.
Scott’s efforts come several months after her ex announced that he would be donating $10 billion towards climate change. Yet, considering that the donation only consisted of just 7.5 percent of Bezos’ $129.9 billion fortune—literally the richest man in the world didn’t exactly get the parade he was hoping for.
At least his ex-wife is making up for it—and clearly, in a big way.