Jun 15, 2021 - Economy

MacKenzie Scott donates another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations

Mackenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos.

MacKenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including community-based nonprofits and organizations focused on racial justice.

Why it matters: It's the next phase of what the New York Times describes as a "highly unconventional approach" to philanthropy from one of the richest women in the world.

  • Scott has doled out billions of dollars in donations over the last year, including nearly $6 billion to 500 organizations in 2020, per the Times.
  • "Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role," Scott wrote in a blog post. "Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors — we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change."

Details: Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, listed the nearly 300 "high-impact organizations" that the donations will benefit.

  • Scott said the philanthropies fall into categories "that have been historically underfunded and overlooked."
  • The groups receiving portions of the donation include arts groups, such as the Arts Forward Fund and Art for Justice Fund; institutes of higher education, such as Cal Poly Pomona and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; and community-based groups fighting discrimination, such as Black Led Movement Fund and Emerging LGBTQ Leaders of Color Fund.

What she's saying: "People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating," Scott wrote. "This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth."

  • "In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others."
  • "Though we still have a lot to learn about how to act on these beliefs without contradicting and subverting them, we can begin by acknowledging that people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change."

Our thought bubble, via Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon: Scott is becoming ever more adamant that this isn't her philanthropy; she's simply trying to enable others to spend her money as they see fit.

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