MacKenzie Scott, one of the richest women in the world, forged ahead with her highly unconventional approach to philanthropy on Tuesday, using a blog post to announce that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had given away $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations including arts nonprofits and groups working to combat racial discrimination.
Ms. Scott was married to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, for 25 years. When they divorced in 2019, her share of the settlement, 4 percent of Amazon’s stock, was valued at around $36 billion. Despite the huge sums she has given away since then, her wealth has only continued to grow, thanks to Amazon’s soaring stock price. Forbes’s most recent estimate of her net worth was roughly $60 billion.
Though Ms. Scott did not list the amount she gave each organization, her blog post included a list of those receiving funds. They included well-known arts groups such as the Apollo Theater and Ballet Hispánico; higher education institutions including schools in the University of California and the University of Texas systems; organizations focused on racial justice, such as Race Forward and Borealis Philanthropy; and groups focused on empowering women and combating domestic violence.
When Ms. Scott promised in 2019 to give “until the safe was empty,” people had little reason to take her at her word. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett — many of the world’s wealthiest — have made lofty promises of giving and each is richer now than ever before.
In a year of incredible need, Ms. Scott gave away nearly $6 billion to 500 organizations in 2020. But the surging stock market and her sizable stake in Amazon meant that she ended the year with more money than she started it.
Her latest round of giving was less than the $4.2 billion in grants that Ms. Scott announced in December, which she linked directly to the enormous needs generated by the pandemic, but still an enormous amount on par with the annual grants of some of the nation’s largest foundations.