SEATTLE, Wash. — MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, says 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.
The Seattle Times reports Scott announced her pandemic-era philanthropy in a Medium post Tuesday, writing that the pandemic has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires, while things have gotten worse for women, people of color and those living in poverty.
The philanthropist and author says she asked a team of advisers to help her “accelerate” her 2020 giving with immediate help to those financially gutted by the pandemic.
She says the team used a data-driven approach, identifying organizations specifically in communities with high food insecurity, racial inequity and other factors.
As a result, Scott says billions of dollars in “gifts” have been given to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
“Some are filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable,” wrote Scott. “Others are addressing long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis: debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.”
Wednesday morning, United Way Suncoast announced Scott chose them as one of the organizations and gifted them $20 million, which is the largest gift in the organization’s 96-year history and will help families in both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
“Ignited by the generosity of one selfless donor, this gift will have a ripple effect on millions. Overnight, the game has changed. Impact will no longer be measured in years – it will be measured for generations,” said Jessica Muroff, president and CEO. “This gift is truly transformational. It will allow us to work deeper in our communities, more powerfully leverage our great partnerships and, most importantly, build more pathways to success for families in our communities.”
Click here to learn more about the organizations that benefited from Scott’s donations.