Jul 29, 2020 - Economy

MacKenzie Scott donates $1.7 billion since divorce from Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos poses as they arrive at the headquarters of publisher Axel-Springer where he will receive the Axel Springer Award 2018 on April 24, 2018 in Berlin.

Novelist MacKenzie Scott (R) with her former husband, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, at a 2018 awards ceremony in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Jorg Carstensen/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Novelist MacKenzie Scott revealed in a Medium blog post Tuesday that she's given $1.7 billion to charity over the past year since her divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Details: Donations have mainly gone to social justice and public health organizations, along with groups fighting climate change. "Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror," Scott writes.

  • Among the recipients are the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the historically black college Tuskegee University.
  • "My own reflection after recent events revealed a dividend of privilege I'd been overlooking: the attention I can call to organizations and leaders driving change," Scott added, pledging to highlight more donations as her "giving continues in the months and years to come."

Why it matters: Scott places 13th on the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, with an estimated net worth of over $59 billion.

  • Scott notes she agreed last year to "give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it," after signing up to Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates' Giving Pledge campaign.
  • Billionaires who’ve taken the pledge "are liable to charges that they are using philanthropy to influence society without doing anything to address the underlying causes of inequality — or paying their fair share of taxes," noted David McCabe, writing for Axios when she signed up for the initiative last year.
Go deeper