MacKenzie Scott has donated more than $4bn in the past four months to hundreds of charities and aid organisations, including food banks fighting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has a personal net worth of more than $60bn (£44.5bn) which makes her the 18th richest person in the world. She pledged to give away much of her wealth after her divorce settlement with Jeff Bezos last year. Scott has already donated $1.7bn to 116 charities and on Tuesday announced she had decided to “accelerate” her donations this year by giving a further $4.15bn to 384 organisations across the US and Puerto Rico.
This makes her total donations this year to $6bn.
She wrote in a blogpost titled 384 Ways to Help, “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 colour, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
MacKenzie said she took a “data-driven” approach to selecting the recipients of donations. Her team paid “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 added that some of her donations aimed to fulfil basic needs, such as food banks, emergency relief funds and support for the most vulnerable. Others focused on long-term issues that the pandemic has exacerbated, such as debt relief, employment training and education for “historically marginalised and underserved people”, as well as civil rights groups and legal defence funds.
Her team looked at 6,490 organisations and put 822 into “deeper research”. She published the list of organisations to receive funds, which includes the YMCA, Meals on Wheels, the Global Fund for Women and the civil rights organisation the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.