MacKenzie Scott says she is giving away another $2.7 billion of her fortune to 286 nonprofit organizations. Scott, who divorced from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, made the announcement in a blog post. Scott said her organization spent the first quarter of 2021 researching equity-oriented nonprofit organizations working in neglected and underfunded areas. The recipients span from institutions of higher education and arts and culture, to organizations fighting poverty, working on interfaith issues and building community engagement.
Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals to give away a majority of their money. So far Scott has given away more than $8 billion in three rounds of funding to various organizations. Her net worth is estimated to be nearly $60 billion and she received a 4% stake in Amazon during her divorce. Shares of Amazon’s stock rose sharply during the pandemic. Despite still giving away billions, Scott’s wealth keeps growing.
Like the $4 billion Scott gave to 384 organizations in the last four months of 2020, the donations are unrestricted, so recipients can use the money as they see fit. “Many reported that this trust significantly increased the impact of the gift” Scott wrote. Calling the donations to individual organizations “relatively large,” Scott described the new cash as a means to do more good work with less financial stress.
“These are people who have spent years successfully advancing humanitarian aims, often without knowing whether there will be any money in their bank accounts in two months. What do we think they might do with more cash on hand than they expected? Buy needed supplies. Find new creative ways to help. Hire a few extra team members they know they can pay for the next five years. Buy chairs for them. Stop having to work every weekend. Get some sleep,” Scott suggested.
Scott’s approach to philanthropy is unique as she doesn’t have a website for an organization to apply for donations. She prefers to research an array of organizations to narrow down the list of recipients for each round of donations. She then announces the chosen organizations in blog posts in a list format but doesn’t state the amount of money they’ve been granted. Some organizations have revealed how much money they’ll receive.
The president of the University of Central Florida said his institution will receive $40 million – the largest donation in the university’s history. Florida International University is receiving the same amount. Long Beach City College, in California, thanked Scott for the $30 million donation they will receive — also the single largest donation in its history. The University of Texas at San Antonio is also receiving $40 million, which its president called “completely transformational.” The university said Scott was drawn to UTSA because of the university’s strong commitment to create pathways to success for students from communities with significant educational attainment and income disparities.