MacKenzie Scott, novelist and ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, revealed this week that she has given away more than $4.1 billion in the past four months to support “people suffering the economic effects” of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, the billionaire published a Medium post noting she was inspired by the “proliferation of community fridges, COVID relief funds, impromptu person-to-person Venmo gifts, viral debt relief campaigns, and mutual aid initiatives” and asked a team of advisers to help her “accelerate my 2020 giving.”
Those advisers apparently used data to identify “organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”
Scott wrote that in the past four months, she’s given “$4,158,500,000 in gifts to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.” Those gifts include “filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable” as well as “debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.”
She went on to say that “witnessing the determination, creativity, and compassion of people in a crisis has been inspiring” and implored others with the means to support any of the organizations she lists in her post.
“Every one of them could benefit from more resources to share with the communities they’re serving. And the hope you feed with your gift is likely to feed your own,” she wrote.
Scott is worth more than $60 billion and was the richest woman in the world as of September 2020. In May of 2019, she signed the Giving Pledge, the philanthropic campaign created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates that has signees committing “to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.”