MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated over $4 billion to different organizations “across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.” and is planning to continue doing so. Being the 18th richest person in the world, her fortune totaled $60.7 billion — adding $23.6 billion this year alone.
She authored a blog post on Medium titled “384 Ways to Help,” in which she 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.”
Scott goes on to write that she met with financial advisors to help “accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis,” she wrote. “They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”
According to the chief executive officer of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Melissa Berman, Scott’s donations — which are close to adding up to $6 billion — “has to be one of the biggest annual distributions by a living individual.”
When the conversation of redistribution of wealth is had, usually people mention that the distribution process should involve public (not private) schools, organizations that are committed to helping communities, etc. That’s exactly what Scott did here. She donated to a total of 384 organizations including, “30 institutions of higher education, including several tribal colleges and historically Black colleges and universities. More than 40 food banks received money, as did almost four dozen local affiliates of Goodwill Industries International,” Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg spoke to two recipients of Scott’s generosity: Scott King, the executive director for Meals on Wheels of Tampa and Betsy Biemann, CEO of Maine-based Coastal Enterprises Inc.
King explained that his company didn’t apply for the grant they received. MacKenzie’s team found their non-profit and reached out to them. Either way, King said, “This comes at a great time for us. There are areas in and around Tampa that aren’t being served and need to be.”
Biemann also expressed her gratitude, saying “It’s an amazing day at the end of what’s been a very challenging year.”