August 3, 2021

How MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, got rich after donating $ 5.8 billion

MacKenzie Scott |
MacKenzie Scott. NEWSCOM

MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos who has become one of the richest women in the world, continues to donate her fortune to nonprofits. Despite her donation of $ 5.8 billion in 2020, she continues to get richer thanks to the rise in Amazon shares.

MacKenzie Scott entered the rankings Forbes billionaires around the world a year ago, with a fortune of $ 36 billion in Amazon stock that she received during her divorce from Jeff Bezos in mid-2019. She was the 22th richest person in the world and the fourth richest woman in the ranking.

Today, while Forbes publishes new 2021 ranking of richest people in the world, MacKenzie Scott, at 50, is still ranked 22th position. But his fortune is worth $ 53 billion, almost 50% more than a year ago, due to an almost 66% increase in the value of Amazon stock. This is after setting a new standard for philanthropic giving in 2020 by donating $ 5.8 billion to nonprofits. Her fortune makes her the third richest woman in the world, behind L’Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers and Walmart heiress Alice Walton, who respectively have fortunes estimated at $ 73.6 billion and $ 61 billion. , 8 billion dollars.

To put MacKenzie Scott’s charitable giving in 2020 into context: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the United States with an endowment of $ 49.8 billion and 1,602 employees, donated 5.1 billion dollars in grants in 2019. MacKenzie Scott’s philanthropic effort doesn’t have its own website, and we don’t know how many people it has employed to research organizations and distribute grants. She works with the nonprofit Bridgespan, which advises nonprofits and philanthropists.

The former wife of Jeff Bezos has not given an interview since her divorce from the American billionaire. However, in May 2019, she signed The Giving Pledge, a pledge to donate at least half of her fortune to charitable causes during her lifetime or after her death.

In her pledge letter, she writes: “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time, effort and attention. But I won’t wait. And I will continue until the safe is empty ”. Its biggest challenge may well be the continued effort to empty the vault as the money it holds keeps multiplying. (In March, a letter from her new husband Dan Jewett, a teacher at the Seattle private school her children attended, appeared on The Giving Pledge website.)

MacKenzie Scott’s donations have helped 500 organizations across the United States, including Puerto Rico, from historically black colleges and universities to the national non-profit Feeding America food bank. “This pandemic has taken its toll on the lives of already struggling Americans,” she wrote on Medium in December, as part of the announcement of her nearly $ 4.2 billion donation to 384 organizations in four months. “The economic losses and health outcomes have been worse for women, people of color and people living in poverty. Meanwhile, the pandemic has dramatically increased the wealth of billionaires ”.

MacKenzie Scott wrote that after her first big fundraiser in July 2020, she asked her advisers to step up her philanthropy to help those suffering from the pandemic. She wanted to pay “special attention to those operating in communities facing projected high food insecurity, high measures of racial inequality, high local poverty rates and poor access to philanthropic capital.”

Philanthropy is not his only passion. At the age of 6, she wrote her first book, The Book Worm, a 142-page novel. She graduated from high school a year early and studied at Princeton, where she majored in English. Its thesis supervisor was Nobel Prize winner novelist Toni Morrison. After graduating, she joined the DE Shaw hedge fund and began dating Jeff Bezos. They both left the company to move to Seattle and launch Amazon in 1994. An early employee told Forbes in 2019 that MacKenzie Scott “did just about everything” to help get Amazon off the ground. Nick Hanauer, an early Amazon investor, agrees: “MacKenzie Scott did as much as Jeff did in the early days,” he told Forbes in 2019.

She however returned to writing and published her first novel, The Testing of Luther Albright, in 2005. Eight years later, she published another novel, Traps. The reclusive billionaire did not respond to Forbes’ interview request.

In December, she wrote on Medium that she read a lot of Emily Dickinson’s poems: “As winter 2020 approaches, I might have expected one of Dickinson’s poems on the death keeps coming to mind, but instead it was his text on hope: “Hope wears a costume of feathers, perches in the soul and tirelessly sings a wordless tune; but it is in a storm that her song is sweetest ””.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Deniz Çam

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