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Mackenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, donates millions to HBCUs

MacKenzie Scott said she has donated about $1.7 billion to several causes including racial equity, climate change and public health, as the world’s 13th-richest person works to fulfill a pledge to give away a majority of her wealth.

The novelist’s $59.3 billion fortune derives from a 4% stake in Amazon.com Inc., which she received as part of her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. In a blog post Tuesday, she outlined her philanthropy and said the global turmoil in the first half of 2020 spurred her to call attention to organizations and leaders driving change and addressing inequities. She wrote under what she said was her new last name, Scott. She still uses Bezos on her Twitter account.

“There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,” she said.

Scott joins a growing list of American billionaires that have stepped up their giving at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated income inequality and the death of an unarmed Black man at the hands of Minneapolis police has driven calls for racial justice. Meanwhile, booming stock markets are lifting the value of shares that underpin their wealth, making them ever-more rich.

Scott’s Amazon stake was worth about $36 billion at the time of her divorce. That’s surged this year with a rally in the company’s shares, as the pandemic made consumers reliant on online shopping. She is now the second-wealthiest woman in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Earlier this month, Warren Buffett — No. 6 on the list of richest people in the world — donated Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares worth almost $3 billion.

In April, Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey committed to donate a piece of his stake in Square, the payments firm he co-founded, and has since been publicly posting his progress in a Google Docs spreadsheet.

At the time Dorsey made the commitment, the Square stake was worth $1 billion. So far, he’s donated more than $171 million, but the Square shares have more than doubled in value, meaning the billionaire has over $2 billion left to give away. Dorsey’s moving goalpost is an example of how billionaires can’t give away their fortunes fast enough.

In February, before the pandemic took hold of the U.S., Amazon’s Bezos announced he would commit $10 billion to fight climate change. At the time of the announcement, Bezos’s wealth had already grown $15.6 billion since the start of the year. By now, Bezos’s fortune has grown $63.6 billion in 2020 to $178.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Unlike his ex-wife and peers among the richest people in the world, Bezos has not signed the Giving Pledge, which commits them to donating the majority of their fortune in their lifetime.

Bezos will appear before Congress Wednesday for the first time in an antitrust hearing alongside Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet Inc.’s Sundar Pichai.

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MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated millions of her personal wealth to historically Black colleges and universities. 

Scott recently noted on Twitter that she dropped the ‘Bezos’ surname and is now using the “middle name I grew up with, after my grandfather Scott,” she wrote. As the third richest woman in the world, Scott announced in a Medium blog post on Tuesday that she has donated $1.7 billion to charity. 

Among the beneficiaries are Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton University. Each confirmed that they received the largest single donation in their schools’ history.

“I would like to thank Ms. Mackenzie Scott for her investment into Howard University and our 153-year mission of serving a diverse community of dynamic scholars who come here for an education and leave here with purpose to serve the world,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “We plan to immediately put this eight-figure gift to good use to support components of our 5-year strategic plan to help students graduate on time, retain our talented faculty, enhance our campus infrastructure and support academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Howard did not disclose the amount it received but Xavier was reportedly given $20 million. The university noted in a statement announcing the donation that the institution has produced “more African American MDs than any other institution in the United States, also federal judges, civil rights attorneys, renowned artists and musicians, business leaders, and elected officials – serving on local, state and national levels.”

Hampton University did not reveal the amount received but intends to put the funds towards the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, “where lives are saved daily from the devastating effects of cancer,” the university said in a statement.

Scott reportedly has a net worth of $36 billion, according to Forbes. Most of her wealth comes from the 4% stake in Amazon that she bagged as part of her divorce settlement.   

In her Medium post, Scott vowed to continue paying it forward “until the safe is empty.”

“There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,” she wrote.

She listed some of the organizations she has donated money to over the past year:

  • Racial Equity: $ 586,700,000
  • LGBTQ+ Equity: $ 46,000,000
  • Gender Equity: $ 133,000,000
  • Economic Mobility: $ 399,500,000
  • Empathy & Bridging Divides: $ 55,000,000
  • Functional Democracy: $ 72,000,000
  • Public Health: $ 128,300,000
  • Global Development: $ 130,000,000
  • Climate Change: $ 125,000,000

Though this work is ongoing and will last for years, I’m posting an update today because my own reflection after recent events revealed a dividend of privilege I’d been overlooking: the attention I can call to organizations and leaders driving change,” she wrote.

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Comment by vaughn mitchell on July 30, 2020 at 4:47pm
Give that lady respect.
Comment by mr1stroke on July 29, 2020 at 4:20pm
Right now white people are using black people as modern day slaves but the black community is too blind to see, at the day time emmies they barely nominated a black actor forget about a black show, today they just release the emmies majority of the nominees are black actors and black shows, now where ever you go its black this and black that, they are investing big money in those black businesses

Let me talk to those who can make sense in this circus, they kept you where you are so they can use you when they want to, everything you do they make sure they own or a part of it, so they can sell it or invest it when ever they want, its no different than the slaves that were free but were not allowed to leave the plantation, they work for low pay they live on location including their families, they worked the land but the masters never gave them any land, and they had to pay the master when they wanted to leave the plantation for good, it is the same thing, everything black, from movies, music, fashion and others, are the white men wealth right now they are making a killing and they are all in it, and the fools and the salves are falling for this game, they are not giving you what you deserve or owed to, they are making false promises, let see how much of that police reform will pass, Nancy Pelosi said she has a police reform she wants to pass, how come they have not vote on it, why they are not talking about it any more is it not important no more? Well youre the supporter i let you tell it, as for me i am just asking the questions and trying to be educated by understanding your mind, please enlighten me with some facts
Comment by mr1stroke on July 29, 2020 at 4:07pm
Donating to racial causes is one thing, this is the same money game, that money is considered as charity also and escrow investment where it accumulates interest and does not go directly to these causes, it can be written off the taxes as charity donation, but of course you have to appreciate good deeds, it has been in history to shut up those who are standing up

Because so many people are impress by the power of the dollar, they are either too stupid or happy to ask the important questions, do those corporations change their policies, the same old policies that limit minority to advance, will they make sure that a black person get promoted to their boards and also get equal pay as the whites members, many corporation are now admitting how they have blocked people of color whether its doctors or lawyers from advancing with their firms

Will those wealthy people demand that those corporations change their policies if they are donating money to racial equality, how is money fixing the problem, it is a smoke screen, until every policies from private to government change, there will not be any progress, everything is temporary, let see what happens after the election or when the economy comes back

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