SEATTLE—MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author, and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced that she has given away $4.1 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations as part of a giving pledge she announced last year.
Scott announced her pandemic-era philanthropy in a Medium post Tuesday, The Seattle Times reported. She described the coronavirus pandemic as “a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling.”
“Meanwhile,” she wrote, “it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
After donating $1.68 billion to 116 nonprofits, universities, community development groups, and legal organizations last July, Scott asked a team of advisers to help her “accelerate” her 2020 giving with immediate help to those financially gutted by the pandemic.
She said the team used a data-driven approach, identifying organizations with strong leadership and results, specifically in communities with high food insecurity and poverty rates, “and low access to philanthropic capital.”
Scott and her team started with 6,490 organizations, researched 822, and put 438 “on hold for now,” waiting for more details about their impact, management, and how they treat employees or community members.
In total, 384 organizations in 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., will share $4,158,500,000 in gifts, including food banks, emergency relief funds, “and support services for those most vulnerable.”
Scott noted that she was “far from completing” her giving pledge, and urged others to follow her lead in whatever way they could: time, a voice, or money.