Mackenzie Scott gives over £3bn to charity in four months


The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has donated more than £3bn ($4bn) to frontline charities helping in the pandemic in four months, she has revealed.

In a blog post Mackenzie Scott, who was previously known as Mackenzie Bezos, said she was inspired by the philanthropic efforts of others during the coronavirus pandemic.

In July, the 50-year-old donated £1.32 ($1.7bn) to 116 charities, taking her total donations for the year to almost £4.5bn ($6bn).

“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” she wrote in a blog post on Medium.

“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.”

Her divorce from the world’s richest man left Ms Mackenzie with a 4% stake in Amazon

The money has gone to more than 380 organisations across the US, handpicked from a list of nearly 6,500.

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Ms Mackenzie is the world’s 18th richest person.

Her divorce from the world’s richest man, Mr Bezos, in 2019 left her with a 4% stake in Amazon, which was worth £27.8bn ($36bn) at the time.

However, thanks to an increase in online shopping in the pandemic, she has seen her wealth balloon this year from £17bn ($23.6bn) to £45bn ($60.7bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ms Mackenzie said the money had gone to “communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital”.

She added: “These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day.

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“They were told that the entire commitment would be paid upfront and left unrestricted in order to provide them with maximum flexibility.

“The responses from people who took the calls often included personal stories and tears.”

Ms Mackenzie worked with a team of advisers to identify areas of need and help her distribute the funds.

Last year she signed the Giving Pledge – a commitment, set up by Bill and Melinda Gates – for the world’s wealthiest to dedicate their wealth to worthy causes.

Amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Ms Scott has given money to racial equality non-profit organisations.

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