MacKenzie Scott settled her divorce with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2019

By Gabrielle Chung
July 28, 2020 06:43 PM
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Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott
Kevin Mazur/Getty

MacKenzie Scott — formerly known as MacKenzie Bezos — is keeping true to her promise a year after joining the Giving Pledge, a list of billionaires who pledge to donate half of their fortune to those in need.

The 50-year-old novelist, who walked away with almost $38 billion after her 2019 divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, revealed in a Medium article on Tuesday that she has given nearly $1.7 billion to various charities since signing the pledge to donate a majority of her wealth.

"Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror," she wrote. "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. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer."

"I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions," she continued.

"Last fall, I asked a team of non-profit advisors with key representation from historically marginalized race, gender, and sexual identity groups to help me find and assess organizations having major impact on a variety of causes. 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."

MacKenzie Scott
Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty

According to Scott, she has donated around $586 million to organizations that support racial justice, $46 million to charity groups focused on LGBTQ rights and $133 million to non-profits promoting gender equality.

She also shared that millions of dollars have been contributed toward public health, global development and climate change.

Scott said amongst the 116 organizations she donated to include Obama Foundation, Movement for Black Lives, Black Girls CODE, GLSEN, The Trevor Project, RAINN, Future Without Violent, Fund for Trans Generations, No Kid Hungry, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Potential Energy Coalition, Project Echo — COVID-19 Response and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

"I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts. Unless organization leadership requested otherwise, all commitments were paid up front and left unrestricted to provide them with maximum flexibility," she wrote.

"Every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic," the writer shared. "And every one of them would benefit from more allies looking to share wealth of all types and sizes, including money, volunteer time, supplies, advocacy, publicity, networks and relationships, collaboration, encouragement, and trust."

Scott added that she'll continue to be transparent about her donations as her "giving continues in the months and years to come."

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The Giving Pledge was started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010. Scott joined the initiative in May 2019 following her divorce from Bezos, 56.

MacKenzie and Jeff announced their divorce in January 2019 through a joint statement after 25 years of marriage and four children together. The two announced they settled their divorce in April, with MacKenzie sharing a statement on Twitter breaking down how their assets were dissolved.

“Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness, and looking forward to the next phase as co-parents and friends,” she wrote at the time.

“Happy to be giving him all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continues contributions with the teams of these incredible companies.

“Excited about my own plans,” Scott said in her statement. “Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next.”

Scott's net worth is currently estimated to be around $60.4 billion, according to Bloomberg.