Last year, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post, announced that he and his wife, MacKenzie Scott, had decided to divorce. Scott, a philanthropist and author, received the largest divorce settlement in history: a 4% share of Amazon and a settlement of $38 billion. This year, Scott’s net worth climbed to $60.7 billion, making her the 18th-richest person in the world. Meanwhile, Bezos’ estimated net worth is now over $185 billion, solidifying his position as the richest person in the world.
Earlier this week, Scott wrote a blog post on Medium explaining that she wanted to do what she could to help Americans who were struggling due to COVID-19. In the post, she stated that she had donated $4.2 billion to 384 organizations in just four months.
MacKenzie Scott Donations Rise to Almost $6 Billion
Scott felt compelled to donate because of the financial toll COVID-19 had taken on millions of her fellow Americans: “The pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires,” she wrote.
Last July, MacKenzie Scott donated $1.7 billion to 116 organizations, calling attention to people and leaders driving change. Her most recent donations of $4.2 billion bring the total to almost $6 billion in 2020 alone.
Scott’s team reviewed more than 6,490 organizations before deciding which ones would receive the donations. These organizations include:
- $40 million to Morgan State University – the largest donation in its history
- $50 million to Prairie View A&M University in Texas – the largest donation in its history
- Meals on Wheels
- The United Way
- The NAACP
- Global Fund for Women
- ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs)
These donations come as a part of MacKenzie Scott’s commitment to the Giving Pledge, which she signed last year, promising that she would donate most of her fortune to charity. According to the website, the Giving Pledge “is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.”
In her pledge, Scott acknowledged that she has “a disproportionate amount of money to share.”
How Much Money Did Jeff Bezos Donate to Charity in 2020?
Scott isn’t the only one donating money to charity. Bezos has been known to donate millions to support gay marriage, homelessness, and other efforts – and last February, he announced that he would be donating $10 billion to issues related to climate change. In November, he began issuing grants totaling almost $800 million to 16 different organizations.
Both MacKenzie Scott’s and Jeff Bezos’ fortunes have soared since the start of the pandemic, largely due to a massive increase in online shopping on Amazon. With no end in sight for COVID-19, their fortunes are likely to increase as more and more people switch to online shopping.
With high-net-worth divorce tends to come animosity and contention over settlements, finances, assets, and more. The amicable nature of the Bezos divorce, paired with both parties’ willingness to donate billions to charity, could be a model for handling high-net-worth divorce with dignity and generosity.