MacKenzie Scott gives $5.6b to groups helping the virus-hit

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie Scott in 2018 before their divorce. The two went their separate ways last year. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie Scott in 2018 before their divorce. The two went their separate ways last year. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SAN FRANCISCO • Ms MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, said she has given US$4.2 billion (S$5.6 billion) to groups helping the vulnerable as the coronavirus pandemic hits lives like "a wrecking ball".

Ms Scott, 50, who formerly went by the name MacKenzie Bezos, last year signed a "giving pledge" to donate the bulk of her wealth to charity.

In a round of donations early this year, she gave nearly US$1.7 billion to groups devoted to race, gender and economic equality issues, as well as other social causes.

"This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling," Ms Scott said on Tuesday in a post detailing her second round of giving this year.

"I have a disproportionate amount of money to share," she wrote in her pledge.

"My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won't wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty."

She noted that the wealth of billionaires has substantially increased. Media reports said Mr Bezos' wealth has grown almost 80 per cent during the pandemic.

Ms Scott was left a multi-billionaire after her divorce last year from Mr Bezos. She ranked 20th on a Forbes real-time list of the world's richest people on Tuesday, with a net worth of US$56 billion - after taking her latest donations into account.

Mr Bezos was at the top of that list with a net worth of US$185 billion.

  • US$56b

    Ms MacKenzie Scott's net worth after taking her latest donations into account. She is ranked 20th on a Forbes real-time list of the world's richest people on Tuesday.

Ms Scott said she enlisted a team of advisers that helped identify 384 organisations across the United States that support people suffering from the economic toll of the pandemic.

Special attention was given to organisations working to combat hunger, poverty and racial inequity in communities, she added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2020, with the headline 'MacKenzie Scott gives $5.6b to groups helping the virus-hit'. Subscribe