MacKenzie Scott has given away more than $8 billion since her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos nearly two years ago. For perspective, that's more than the entire GDP of some countries. For comparison, Bill and Melinda Gates have become the world's biggest philanthropists, having given away around $50 billion over the past 27 years—at Scott's pace, she'd hit that amount in 12 years.
Scott just announced that she and the philanthropy team she has assembled have donated $2.74 billion to 286 organizations. Though the donation amounts vary, that's nearly $10 million per organization on average. (Had to do that math three times. "Billion" is a hard number to wrap our brains around.)
The money is the point, of course, but Scott wants the focus to stay on the organizations the money is funding and the work they are doing, not on the wealth that's flowing from her to them.
Please spread the word about these remarkable teams (and when you do please help shift the culture by making them t… https://t.co/cyCeOugV4q— MacKenzie Scott (@MacKenzie Scott) 1623765101.0
In a post on Medium, she wrote:
"People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating. This is equally — perhaps especially — true when their work is funded by wealth. Any wealth is a product of a collective effort that included them. The social structures that inflate wealth present obstacles to them. And despite those obstacles, they are providing solutions that benefit us all.
Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role. Me, Dan, a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors — we are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change. In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others. Though we still have a lot to learn about how to act on these beliefs without contradicting and subverting them, we can begin by acknowledging that people working to build power from within communities are the agents of change. Their service supports and empowers people who go on to support and empower others."
Scott wrote that the recipients of the funds were "high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked," including schools educating underserved populations, organizations bridging religious divides through interfaith support and collaboration, arts and cultural institutions that often struggle for funds, organizations battling poverty and empowering women and girls, and initiatives focused on supporting community engagement.
#LBCC received a tremendously generous gift of $30 million from author/philanthropist @mackenziescott in recogniti… https://t.co/Mn751VnIaE— LB City College (@LB City College) 1623773260.0
Our team just found out that @MackenzieScott gave @GivingTuesday $7M to grow radical generosity. #GivingTuesday https://t.co/ubTQJFk4Lp— Kat Murphy Toms (@Kat Murphy Toms) 1623768718.0
Perhaps most notably, Scott gave the money without strings or instructions for how to use it, believing that these organizations know best how to use the funds. "These are people who have spent years successfully advancing humanitarian aims, often without knowing whether there will be any money in their bank accounts in two months," she wrote. "What do we think they might do with more cash on hand than they expected? Buy needed supplies. Find new creative ways to help. Hire a few extra team members they know they can pay for the next five years. Buy chairs for them. Stop having to work every weekend. Get some sleep."
Here's the complete list of the organizations receiving Scott's donations:
Congratulations to the recipients. Here's hoping they make a marked difference in the lives of those they serve.
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