Washington: MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, announced on Tuesday (local time) that she has donated around USD 1.7 billion to groups involved in philanthropic causes such as healthcare, LGBT rights and racial justice.
Scott, who said she changed her surname after her divorce from Bezos last year, wrote in a post shared on Medium — an online publishing platform — said she pledged to give a majority of her wealth “back to the society that helped generate it”, The Hill reported.
The 50-year-old’s net worth is USD 60.4 billion, making her the 13th wealthiest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems or waking us up to the fact that a civilisation 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,” she said.
“Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin colour, sexual orientation, gender or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change,” she added.
Scott said she instructed a team of non-profit advisors last fall to identify “organisations having a major impact on a variety of causes”.
Her post included a break-up of where the money, which has been allocated, with over USD 586 million focussed on racial equality and USD 125 million dedicated to fighting climate change.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the George W Bush Presidential Center, Advancement Project and Educate Girls are some of the non-profit groups, which have received the donations, according to The Hill.
The divorce between Bezos, the world’s richest man and Scott reportedly gave her 25 per cent of Bezo’s Amazon stocks, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world.
In May last year, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. This was founded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda in 2010. Over 200 of the wealthiest people across the globe have signed the pledge.
However, Bezos, who has not participated in the initiative, announced the launch of Bezos Earth Fund earlier this year, an initiative which will commit USD 10 billion to tackle climate change.