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MacKenzie Scott says she’s given away nearly $2B to 343 organizations over past 7 months – GeekWire

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MacKenzie Scott. (Elena Seibert Photo)

Seattle philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott on Monday announced that she and her team have given nearly $2 billion over the past seven months to 343 organizations. Scott, who does not have an official foundation dispersing funds, announced the grants in a short Medium post.

With this latest gift, Scott has given away around $14 billion to approximately 1,500 organizations. The latest announcement included previously disclosed gifts to Girl Scouts of the USA, Junior Achievement USA and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

The post does not include the amounts received by the individual organizations, but that information will be in a database “we’ll be releasing soon,” Scott writes. The release will include information about the recipients “supplied by their own teams, and mission statements in their own words,” she said.

Also on Monday, Scott’s ex-husband, Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos, said in a CNN interview that he would be giving away most of his fortune during his lifetime. Bezos’ commitment comes about three years after Scott’s. Shortly after the couple divorced in 2019, MacKenzie signed The Giving Pledge, which is a public vow by the ultra wealthy to give away most of their largess to charity. Bezos has not signed the pledge.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — who created The Giving Pledge alongside Melinda French Gates more than a decade ago — are currently worth more than $100 billion each, a doubling of their net worth since 2010. Scott was worth an estimated $37 billion a few months after her divorce was announced. Her wealth shot up in 2020 as Amazon’s stock spiked in value. Forbes currently estimates Scott’s net worth at about $29.7 billion.

Scott’s Medium post struck a humble tone consistently found in her messages. She describes her donations as “supporting the voices and opportunities of people from underserved communities.” And she spelled out the sum being given — $1,990,800,000 — almost seeming to call out the absurdity of such wealth.

Scott has been applauded by many for handing out large sums of money quickly, addressing urgent needs that people are currently experiencing.

Scott’s philanthropy has also won praise for its no-strings-attached approach that empowers nonprofits to use funds as they see fit. She highlights in the post that her gifts are mostly going to funds that disperse the resources to smaller organizations that are close to the communities being served.

“For anyone similarly interested in supporting the leadership of people from the communities they’re assisting, funds are a great resource,” she writes.

The organizations receiving the gifts include groups focused on education, charter schools, global nonprofits, LGBTQ efforts, mental health and disability groups, and immigrant and refugee programs. In short, it runs the gamut of social issues.

An analysis of the giving by Inside Philanthropy concludes that “we still haven’t really gotten a sense of a unifying strategy or theory of change knitting together all of this worthy work.”

Scott begins her Medium post with the poem “Dakota Homecoming” by Gwen Nell Westerman, a Dakota writer and university professor. The brief poem describes an exchange between Native and non-Native people. In her own writing, Scott has repeatedly emphasized that the focus should not be on her philanthropy but on the good work being done by the recipients, and she relates that sentiment to the message of the poem.

“I needn’t ask those I care about what to say to them, or what to do for them,” she writes in the closing of her post. “I can share what I have with them to stand behind them as they speak and act for themselves.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include information on grant recipients and commentary from Inside Philanthropy.

 



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