It has revolutionized the quiet world of philanthropy, dispensing with customs and traditions.
Within two years, Mackenzie Scott gave several billion dollars to organizations and non-charities without expecting anything in return or even owning a foundation bearing her name.
In doing so, she changed the way of giving and became one of the real influencers in the world.
In 2019, after 25 years of marriage, Scott and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced an amicable divorce, marked by the transfer of 4% of the Seattle-based tech and e-commerce giant to Scott.
And for the past three years, she’s had media coverage, even as she only speaks through posts on Medium.com, explaining why she chose to donate so much of her fortune.
“I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my application for 2020 with immediate support for people experiencing the economic impacts of the crisis,” Scott wrote in December 2020.
“The result over the past four months has been $4,158,500,000 in gifts to 384 organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, some of which meet basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, support services for the most vulnerable people.”
Scott, 52, has so far donated more than $12 billion to organizations across the United States, to help children, women, minorities, refugees and enable rural areas to access health care.
This month she donated two mansions in Beverly Hills, California, to the California Community Foundation, a Los Angeles nonprofit that supports causes including education, health, immigration and housing in Los Angeles County. These two homes have a total value of $55 million.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, her fortune is estimated at $28.9 billion as of September 28, making her the 39th richest person in the world. Her wealth depends mainly on her stake in Amazon (AMZN) It has halved ($27.4 billion) since January.
Shares of the e-commerce giant have fallen 29% since January, on investor fears of a possible recession.
After her divorce from Bezos in 2019, she married Dan Jewett, a high school science teacher in Seattle.
And now one of the world’s richest women has filed for divorce in King County, Washington, Supreme Court.
The news was first reported by the New York Times.
Scott and Jewett had been discreetly married. The world discovered their union via the GivingPledge page written by Jewett in March 2021. The Giving Pledge is an organization that encourages wealthy people to pledge to donate a significant portion of their wealth during their lifetime.
Jewett wrote on March 6, 2021: “I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know – and join her in a commitment to pass on an immense financial fortune to serve others.” And I’m learning what I made as part of this pledge with McKinsey.”
The GivingPledge page has been updated to include Scott’s name only, and all mention of Jewett has been removed from Scott’s Amazon bio.
This biography of her now presents her as follows: “Mackenzie Scott is the author of two novels, an American Book Award recipient. She lives in Seattle.” Previously reported: “Scott lives in Seattle with her four children and husband, Dan.”
It’s not clear if Scott and Jewett had a prenuptial agreement and if and how the divorce might affect her stake in Amazon.
“All of us come through the gifts we give through an endless series of influences and periods of luck that we can’t quite fathom,” Scott said in a recent update to her GivingPledge page.
“In addition to the assets he sponsored for me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will remain well thought out. It will take time, effort, and care. But I will not wait. And I will keep it until the safe is empty.”