Mackenzie Scott’s huge donations: How she uses her net worth for good
Most billionaires have been known to be quite frugal with their earnings, with many of their critics calling them out for unnecessarily hoarding their abundant wealth. However, author & philanthropist Mackenzie Scott has proven to take a step up and give back some of her billions & billions of dollars of net worth.
Currently, Mackenzie Scott has a whopping net worth of over $59 billion dollars. What’s motivating to give her billions away? Let’s take a look.
How much of her net worth has she given out?
In a post on Medium, Mackenzie Scott recently shared she had donated over $4 billion of her earnings in the past four months. The payments were given to 384 organizations from all across the country with no strings attached.
Mackenzie Scott explained a few of the donations went to groups that will help people fulfill basic needs such as emergency relief funds or food banks, while others will deal with more long-term issues such as “systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis”.
These include: “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.”
Who has Mackenzie Scott given to?
Some of these organizations benefit underserved communities such as Morgan State University in Baltimore, an HBCU. The university reported they received $40 million from Scott. The author & philanthropist also donated to forty-three YMCA associations along with the YMCA of the USA.
Last year, Mackenzie Scott signed the Giving Pledge, promising she’d give a majority of her net worth away to philanthropy. Melissa Berman, CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors reported to Bloomberg that the billionaire made a total of $6 billion in donations in the past year, and admitted it “has to be one of the biggest annual distributions by a living individual” to charities.
Mackenzie Scott reported in July that she gave away about $1.7 million to causes that include LGBTQ organizations, women’s causes, and historically black colleges & universities. One of these included Howard University, who received $40 million and claimed that it was the biggest donation the school has received from one single donor.
Why a change of heart this year?
On Mackenzie Scott’s Medium post, she wrote: “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires,” referring to herself.
She explained the process of finding all the organizations she would later donate to, writing “I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis.”
“They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.” She ended her post with the long list of every single organization she made a donation to.
While Mackenzie Scott has raised the bar for billionaires all around the world now in terms of giving back their wealth, Anand Giridharadas claimed in a now-deleted tweet that these donations were made possible through “union busting and tax avoidance”.
While Giridharadas praised Scott for her hefty donations, she also made sure to shine a light on the Amazon workers in trucks & storage units every day that made this all possible, saying “Let us salute some folks barely holding on, running up and down warehouse aisles, whose wages did this.”
Since her divorce with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last year, she received a 4% stake in the company. These shares are now worth about $62 billion today. Her contributions to Amazon prior to the divorce include being one of the finders of the company as well as being their first accountant. Forbes recently listed her as the third-wealthiest woman in the world, with an estimated worth of $55.1 billion after her recent givings.
Chuck Collins, director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, said in an article from Common Dreams: “she still has a long way to go in her stated intention of giving away all the wealth. But she’s now made two bold moves, putting to shame the other 650 U.S. billionaires who haven’t figured out comparable ways to boldly share.”