Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife reveals she doled out $2 BILLION to charitable foundations in seven months

The former wife of Jeff Bezos has given away $2 billion over the last seven months, she announced on Monday – the same day her ex-husband declared that he too would, during his lifetime, give away his entire fortune.

MacKenzie Scott, 52, became the world’s richest woman when she divorced the Amazon founder in 2019 and walked away with $28.9 billion.

Since then she has devoted her time and energy to identifying the most worthy and effective charitable organizations to donate her cash to.

On Monday, Bezos, a $124 billion man – the fourth richest in the world – who has previously been criticized for accumulating enormous wealth while Amazon workers endured intense conditions, and for not pledging to give away his fortune, said that he would give it all away.

Sitting alongside his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, 52, the businessman said they are ‘building the capacity to be able to give away this money’.

Jeff Bezos is pictured with his then-wife MacKenzie Scott in April 2018. The pair divorced the following year, after 26 years of marriage. She became the world’s richest woman, but has since then given away over $12 billion

Bezos is seen in Monday's CNN interview with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, 52. The Amazon founder said he intends to give away most of his $124 billion fortune over the course of his life

Bezos is seen in Monday’s CNN interview with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, 52. The Amazon founder said he intends to give away most of his $124 billion fortune over the course of his life

The tycoon did not give specific details about the exact charities he will donate to, or how much he will give

The tycoon did not give specific details about the exact charities he will donate to, or how much he will give

He told CNN’s Chloe Melas it was not an easy thing to do effectively, and the accompanying report hinted that he did not necessarily agree with her methods.

‘Bezos didn’t comment on his ex-wife’s charitable giving, but strongly feels there are good and bad ways to give away vast sums of money,’ wrote Brian Fung, CNN’s business correspondent.

Bezos, speaking inside his Washington DC home, told Melas: ‘The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a leveraged way.

It’s not easy – building Amazon was not easy.

‘It took a lot of hard work, a bunch of very smart teammates and I’m finding that philanthropy is very similar – it’s not easy it’s very hard.

‘We are building the capacity to be able to give away this money. There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too.

‘So you have to think about it carefully and you have to have brilliant people on the team.’

Scott has taken a different approach to philanthropy, rarely giving interviews and simply releasing a biannual account of the organizations she is backing

Scott has taken a different approach to philanthropy, rarely giving interviews and simply releasing a biannual account of the organizations she is backing

Bezos and Sanchez are pictured together on May 27 at the Commencement ceremony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Bezos and Sanchez are pictured together on May 27 at the Commencement ceremony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts

While some interpreted Bezos’s comment about ‘ineffective’ giving as a side swipe at his ex-wife, she pressed ahead with her own announcement.

Scott on Monday provided her biannual update on her own giving, revealing that she had given away $2 billion over the last seven months to 348 different organizations.

Writing on Medium – the platform she always uses to make announcements, rather than giving interviews or issuing statements – she said the groups she backed were ‘supporting the voices and opportunities of people from underserved communities.’

Scott listed the 348 groups, which included well-known groups such as the Girl Scouts, GLAAD, Teach for America and the National Urban League, as well as small community organizations working with immigrants, refugees, women, and in climate change.

‘The funds we picked look for teams with lived experience in the issues they’re addressing, as we did when selecting the other non-profits in this giving cycle, and the 1,200+ recipients before them, many of which are also funds,’ she wrote.

‘I recently learned a saying used in disability communities: ‘Nothing about us without us.’ For me, it’s another beautiful and powerful reminder.

I don’t need to ask those I care about what to say to them, or what to do for them.

‘I can share what I have with them to stand behind them as they speak and act for themselves.’

Scott added that she is working on a database of all the organizations she has supported, ‘with information supplied by their own teams, and mission statements in their own words.’

While Scott is now ranked as one of the world’s most powerful philanthropists, having already given away 20 percent of her net worth, Bezos is comparatively new to the idea.

He has donated more than $2.4 billion to philanthropic causes in his lifetime, Forbes calculated last month – looking at only money actually given away, rather than pledges of future support, like the Amazon founder’s commitment to spend $10 billion to protect the environment.

He made the promise in 2020, and since then $1.54 billion has been disbursed through the Bezos Earth Fund.

Bezos has been slammed for not signing the Giving Pledge, which is made up of hundreds of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.

Scott, on the other hand, had before the latest tranche of funding given away five times more than him – $12.8 billion in the last two years.

Bezos on Friday handed Dolly Parton $100 million for her charity, praising her ‘love and compassion in work’.

The tycoon also revealed that he handed out a $100 million award to singer Dolly Parton for her 'love and compassion in work'

The tycoon also revealed that he handed out a $100 million award to singer Dolly Parton for her ‘love and compassion in work’

The Jolene singer's foundation ¿ Dolly Parton's Imagination Library ¿ has given books to one in 10 children in the US.  It also serves the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.

The Jolene singer’s foundation – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – has given books to one in 10 children in the US. It also serves the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Canada.

On Monday, he told CNN: ‘Look at what she’s done and how she’s led her life. The way she’s done it is by doing bold things, always with civility and kindness.

‘She’s a unifier, we have big problems in the world and the way big problems are dealt with is you have to work together.’

Sanchez added: ‘When you think of Dolly, everyone smiles. All she wants to do is bring light into other people’s world.

‘That’s all, and so we couldn’t have thought of someone better to give this award to.’

Sanchez said on Instagram Parton is ‘a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work.’

Parton, in a video clip of the ceremony posted online, said: ‘Wow! Did you say $100 million?’

‘I think people who are in a position to help should put their money where their heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money.’

The singer, 76, has been a long-time philanthropist.

She donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center to help develop a vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also handed CNN’s Van Jones and celebrity chef Jose Andres $100 million each to donate to the charity of their choice – just hours after spending $5.5 billion on his 10-minute space journey.

Jones is a CNN political contributor and founder of Dream Corps, which is a nonprofit for criminal justice reform.

Jeff Bezos gave CNN's Van Jones $100 million on Tuesday for what he called a 'courage and civility award'.  As he accepted the award, an emotional Jones said: 'Sometimes dreams come true'

Jeff Bezos gave CNN’s Van Jones $100 million on Tuesday for what he called a ‘courage and civility award’. As he accepted the award, an emotional Jones said: ‘Sometimes dreams come true’

CNN's Van Jones and celebrity chef Jose Andres were both on hand to accept their $100 million, which was announced at the conclusion of Bezos' space launch press conference

CNN’s Van Jones and celebrity chef Jose Andres were both on hand to accept their $100 million, which was announced at the conclusion of Bezos’ space launch press conference

Andres is a Spanish chef who founded World Central Kitchen – a non-profit dedicated to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.

Bezos noted that the two men can donate the money to whatever charities they choose, including their own.

Jones’ small non-profit had a total of $2.5 million in assets as of 2019, according to the latest available tax records.

World Central Kitchen had around $27 million in assets as of the same tax year.

As he accepted the award, an emotional Jones said: ‘Sometimes dreams come true’ and that ‘the headlines around the world should be anything is possible if you believe’.

‘Lauren and Jeff don’t do anything small – they just don’t do it. They dream big, they love big, they bet big. You bet on me and I appreciate it.’

He said the billionaire had lifted ‘the ceiling off of people’s dreams of humanity’.

‘That’s an important thing. Don’t be mad about it. When you see somebody reaching for the heavens, be glad, because a lot more heaven is up there to reach for. And we can do that together,’ Jones said.

‘If this small group of people can make miracles happen in outer space, a bigger group of people can make miracles happen down here, and we’re going to do it.’

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