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Jeff Bezos’ ex wife Mackenzie announces she donated $1.7bn to charities over the past year

MacKenzie Bezos announced Tuesday that she donated $1.7billion to charitable causes over the past year, a bulk of which went to racial equity and justice causes.

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who revealed Tuesday she’ll now take on her middle name and go by MacKenzie Scott, is the second-richest woman in the world with a net worth of $60billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

The 50-year-old shared a Medium post listing out 116 organizations she supports and revealed she donated $586.7million to racial equality causes as a part of the Giving Pledge, which she signed following her 2019 divorce.

The pledge is a commitment among the wealthy to give away a significant portion of their money over the course of their lifetimes. She’s promised to distribute at least half of her fortune.

‘Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror…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,’ she said.

She named specific organizations she donated to as Black Girls CODE, Futures Without Violence, Movement for Black Lives, and National Domestic Workers Alliance. 

She also gave to several historically black colleges and universities including Morehouse College and Spelman College. She did not specify the size of the individual gifts.

In her post she also reflected upon the society’s system that has helped her amass such a fortune and said she’s giving back to give opportunities to other groups of people.

‘There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,’ she said.

‘I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions,’ she added. 

She revealed she donated $46million to LGBTQ+ Equity causes, $133million to gender equity causes, $399.5million to economic mobility charities, $72million to functional democracy efforts, $128.3million to public health groups and $125million to climate change. 

MacKenzie said she hired a team of nonprofit advisers last fall who helped guide her choice of charity donations. 

‘Last fall, I asked a team of nonprofit advisers with key representation from historically marginalized race, gender, and sexual identity groups to help me find and assess organizations having major impact on a variety of causes,’ she said. 

‘Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable,’ she shared in her post. ‘What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.’

She encouraged others to donate to the list of organizations she supports saying: I recommend these organizations to anyone similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress.’

MacKenzie Scott is one of 210 millionaires and billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge.

The pledge was started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. 

Other cosigners include Steve and Jean Case; Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan; and Sara Blakely. Bezos, the richest man in the world, has not signed the pledge.

They were married from 1993 to 2019 and share four children together.

She skyrocketed to the 22nd richest person in the world in June 2020, largely thanks to her $36billion divorce settlement. As part of the divorce settlement, Jeff transferred 25 percent of his Amazon stake to MacKenzie, which was 4 percent of the company. 

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