But skeptics questioned why Bezos was giving money to combat homelessness while also fighting a proposed Seattle tax that would’ve funded programs to help the homeless but hit Amazon hard. Over the next several months, he answered her questions. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Billionaire novelist and venture philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated nearly $4.2 billion to 384 organizations as part of a plan to donate a majority of her fortune. Humble! “For Jeff, books were a test case for a grander vision of being an everything store,” he says. A year earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun investigating her father and his investment firm after a complaint. Among the recipients are six HBCUs and a number of educational organizations dedicated to increasing access for historically underrepresented groups. Years later, reading an in-flight magazine article about Bezos that mentioned Scott, it hit Verigin that the author he’d met was the very rich wife of a prominent businessman. Other than her writing, she’s offered few details about her early life. Scott announced her pandemic-era philanthropy in a Medium post Tuesday, The Seattle […] Including $14 million to a Michigan organization she's never worked with before. A $40 million gift from Mackenzie Scott to Morgan State University is the largest single private donation in the University's history. Leaders from those companies, and their spouses, tended to sit on nonprofit boards and donate generously, while the companies themselves also made major contributions. They didn’t have to hit metrics she named; they didn’t have to create programs she favored. Within books-obsessed Amazon, though, Scott didn’t distinguish herself as a books enthusiast, as a fiction writer, or as much more than the boss’s pleasant wife who handled numbers. “Entrepreneurs, they and their stories suck up all the oxygen — in a family, in a gathering, with friends, in any kind of setting,” she says. SEATTLE (AP) — MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced that she has given away $4.1 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations as part of a giving pledge she announced last year. In March of 1987, her parents filed for bankruptcy, and so did her father’s investment firm, according to an administrative law judge’s description of the problems in SEC documents; that firm, and its short-lived successor, both closed, the judge wrote. In those years, Scott was quietly taking a night course at the University of Washington on fiction writing, then a writing workshop, working on a draft of what would become her first novel, according to her writing teacher at the time, Carole Glickfeld. She’s done this in a simpler, more trusting way than most education philanthropists. “MacKenzie Scott’s investment in Maine is a vote of confidence in the work we are all doing together to end hunger in our great state,” said food bank president Kristen Miale. Despite scrutiny about whether Amazon was taking proper safety precautions for its warehouse workers, senators questioning whether it had fired whistleblowers for raising questions about working conditions, the House antitrust investigation, and growing concern that Amazon and Bezos held far too much power and money, Amazon stock rose; so, as a result, did Scott’s fortune. Scott seemed comfortable ceding the spotlight to her husband, but it also meant she was often cast as wife-of rather than as her own person. “MacKenzie Scott, by virtue of the amount of money she has, has an obligation to be more transparent about the structure she set up for her philanthropies and her future intentions,” Reich says. And almost immediately she started working to give the money away, and in a way that could change philanthropy. Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is the richest woman in the world and recently donated more than $4.1 billion to 384 colleges, universities and charitable organizations. With a lot of divorcing couples, this would’ve been fodder for ugly fights playing out in the press and in court. That’s when it was clear that we had risen above the pack of the hundreds of other online bookstores.”. And she specifically chose organizations led by people with “lived experience,” as Scott put it: women leading women’s groups, people of color leading racial equity groups. The wealth she didn’t seek, which she was starting to give away, kept coming in, bigger and bigger waves crashing against the shore. “Is this one of those send-money-to-whatever” scams? Hearing “that giant laugh” of his, she has said, she became intrigued. And she treasured check-ins from Toni Morrison encouraging her to keep writing, as she told Rose. He’s a very social guy. "The work that we're doing here in our community was something that MacKenzie Scott was excited to … MacKenzie Scott, shown with then-husband Jeff Bezos at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2018, has been giving away her fortune at a historic clip — and says she would like to do it faster. While not every group publicized the amount of her gift, the general range from those that did was about $3 million to $40 million. While at Shaw, recognizing the furious rate of growth of internet usage, Bezos decided he had to get involved in online sales — and made his pitch to Scott. Here's what makes it unique. For Traps, again Scott did serious research, spending a week on a movie set and working at a dog shelter. Scott gave 116 grants, all at once, with very few strings attached, to mostly small organizations. “You can imagine, when that article was sent to me, the questions that come into one’s mind: Are they going to let me go, because if they were to hire someone who wasn’t of color, the organization might get more money?” he says. In April 2019, Scott posted her first ever tweet to lay out terms of their divorce affecting shareholders. “I don’t think it occurred to me for a long time that she herself was a writer,” Jorgensen says. The company’s sales had skyrocketed during the pandemic, as physical stores shut and consumers stayed home. As of early October, a single share of Amazon hovers above $3,000. Take a look, https://marker.medium.com/inside-the-surreal-and-emotional-, The Real Reason So Many Companies Are Ditching Trump, The Inside Story of How the Lowly PDF Played the Longest Game in Tech, Actually, That Absurd Axe Tweet Is Important, Scott Galloway’s 7 Business Predictions for 2021, Slack’s Outage Was the Best Thing That Could Have Happened to the Company, What Investors See in Affirm, the First Big Tech IPO of 2021. The quiet, literary, 50-year-old billionaire, who overnight became one of the most influential philanthropists in the world, and who set a new bar for giving, has learned from experience what money can accomplish — and what it can’t. She even asked to swap out sports requirements for writing projects. With a gift of that size, Scott could’ve built a cancer center, had a museum wing named after her, made a college rededicate itself in her name. “As a donor, by doing this, she acknowledged that she doesn’t have the answers.”. Scott grew up wealthy, with one house in a tony Marin County, California town and a sprawling mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, according to government and property records. During her senior year, Scott, like all Princeton seniors, was required to do an independent project — in her case, a 173-page thesis — and was able to land Morrison as her adviser. “When you see donors trust the nonprofit experts, the people in the communities that have the highest needs, that’s a shift of power, right? MacKenzie Scott announced this week she has made gifts of almost $1.7 billion to 116 nonprofit entities. In May 2019, shortly after she announced the terms of the divorce on Twitter, she signed the Giving Pledge. MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, said she donated over $4.2 billion in the last four months to 384 organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C., that address pressing needs amid the coronavirus pandemic, … Meanwhile, Bezos was working to expand Amazon beyond its bookish roots. The “announcement is an announcement of her power, and power, wherever it is wielded in a democratic society, deserves scrutiny.” It's now awarded $350 million in scholarships to more than 16,000 undergraduate, graduate and first-professional recipients. As part of the divorce settlement, Jeff transferred 25% of his Amazon stake to MacKenzie, which was 4% of the company. The camera stayed on Jeff, and didn’t pan to Scott — a published novelist, at her alma mater, watching her husband from the second row. The bigger concern, some critics say, is the very source of Scott’s money, and what she owes the public as a result. 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