Author, Anti‑Bullying Activist MacKenzie Scott Donates $1.7 Billion To Social Causes Since Divorce
Mackenzie Scott, a novelist, philanthropist, and the executive director of the 2014-founded anti-bullying organization, Bystander Revolution, announced on Tuesday that she has donated USD 1.7 billion to social causes since her divorce from Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, last year.
In a blog post, Scott provided a broad outline of the 116 organizations and causes she has pledged her wealth to, including racial, gender, and LGBTQIA+ equity, public health, and climate change. Each of these areas has come into particular focus this year, either directly or indirectly, due to the pandemic and the way it has magnified underlying inequalities in our societies.
Within a month of her divorce in 2019, Scott had made a public promise by signing The Giving Pledge to donate her wealth over her lifetime “until the safe is empty.” And, the present announcement is in pursuance of that pledge. “Though this work is ongoing and will last for years, I’m posting an update today because 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 wrote, mentioning her intent behind the post.
Related on The Swaddle:
Last year, Scott had formed a team of independent advisors with key representations from groups that have been historically marginalized on the basis of race, gender, and sexual identity. The intent was to find and assess organizations that can successfully create major impact on each of the causes on her agenda.
For the organizations that made the cut, her wealth came with no strings attached — in order to provide them with “maximum flexibility,” the donations were paid upfront, and are unrestricted. “It’s surreal. The fact that it is unrestricted really speaks to [Scott’s] trust in us to really promote racial equity and justice. It empowers us to do what is right for our community,” Angelique Albert, executive director of the American Indian Graduate Center, which received donations from Scott, told The Seattle Times.
The majority of Scott’s wealth comes from her four percent stake in Amazon, and her ex-husband and CEO of Amazon, Bezos, appeared before a congressional committee yesterday to testify on whether the company’s business practices are monopolistic or anti-competitive.
“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. Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. 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 wrote.