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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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The private climate finance surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There's so much private equity and infrastructure fund action in the climate tech space these days that it's hard to keep up.

Driving the news: Brookfield Asset Management on Tuesday closed $7 billion for its Global Transition Fund that aims to scale clean energy and help carbon-intensive industries cut emissions.

Everyone wants to be an influencer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The number of people looking to become online influencers has exploded during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Almost anyone can find themselves in a position to become an influencer, and brands are throwing billions of dollars at online content creators.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.