Who is MacKenzie Scott - Amazon founder's ex-wife donates $4.1 billion during Covid
Who is MacKenzie Scott?
With a net worth of $66.4 billion, novelist MacKenzie Scott became the world’s richest woman on Monday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The 50-year-old former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos overtook L’Oreal SA heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers for the first time to become the world’s 12th richest person, Indianexpress noted.
MacKenzie Scott is an American novelist and philanthropist who was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She graduated from the prestigious US ivy league Princeton University, with a bachelor’s degree in English, in 1992.
She famously studied creative writing under late Pulitzer-prize winning author Toni Morrison, who has said on record that Scott was “one of the best students” she has ever had. Scott published two novels — The Testing of Luther Albright in 2005 and Traps in 2013. She won an American Book Award in 2006.
Soon after graduating from college, Scott joined DE Shaw, a hedge fund in New York, where she worked for Jeff Bezos as a research associate. The couple soon started dating, and got married the next year, in 1993.
In 1994, Bezos left DE Shaw and founded Amazon, which was then merely an online bookstore started from his garage. Scott joined him as the company’s first employee. In their 25-year marriage, the couple raised four children together. In 2019, Bezos and Scott revealed that they were parting ways.
After the couple announced their separation, Bezos was embroiled in a much-talked-about scandal involving leaked intimate photographs and text messages, which were allegedly shared between him and former news anchor Lauren Sanchez, while he was married to Scott.
How did MacKenzie Scott become the wealthiest women?
Early last year, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott announced the dissolution of their 25-year marriage. The couple’s divorce settlement has been ranked amongst the most expensive of all time.
As part of the settlement, Scott (then MacKenzie Bezos) received 25 per cent of the couple’s Amazon stock, which gave her a 4 per cent stake in the company — amounting to around $38 billion. Following the divorce deal, Scott’s name first emerged in the world’s richest people list.
Bezos, who is currently the world’s richest man, retained voting control over Scott’s shares and also retained his interest in the Washington Post, the American daily newspaper he acquired in 2013; as well as in Blue Origin, an aerospace company he founded in 2000.
In January, Scott had sold, gifted or transferred around 1 per cent of her Amazon stock, worth approximately $350 million, according to a report by Forbes. The reduction of more than 200,000 shares was registered in a filing with the US’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
According to a Bloomberg report, Bezos’ personal wealth rose to $200 billion on Wednesday as Amazon’s shares skyrocketed to record levels amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This simultaneously made Scott the world’s richest woman as her own net worth climbed to $66.4 billion.
A big donor during Covid-19
MacKenzie Scott 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.
Scott announced her pandemic-era philanthropy in a Medium post Tuesday, The Seattle Times reported. She described the coronavirus pandemic as “a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” and noted it has been worse for women, people of color and those living in poverty.
After donating $1.68 billion to 116 nonprofits, universities, community development groups and legal organizations last July, Scott asked a team of advisers to help her “accelerate” her 2020 giving with immediate help to those financially gutted by the pandemic.
In total, 384 organizations in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., will share $4,158,500,000 in gifts, including food banks, emergency relief funds “and support services for those most vulnerable.” Other organizations address “long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis,” such as debt relief, employment training, credit and financial services for under-resourced communities and education for historically marginalized and underserved people. The money will also support legal defense funds “that take on institutional discrimination.”
Scott noted that she was “far from completing” her giving pledge, and urged others to follow her lead in whatever way they could: time, a voice or money, NBCNews reported.
Some of her donations besides Covid-19
|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
You might want to know: other women billionaires on the list
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the sole heiress of the L’Oréal beauty empire, closely follows Scott on the list, with a net worth of $66.3 billion. Meanwhile, Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, ranks 16th with $60.4 billion.
The list also features Julia Koch, who along with her three children, inherited a 42% stake in her late husband David Koch’s chemical manufacturing company Koch Industries after his death.
The granddaughter of Frank C Mars, the founder of the American candy company Mars Incorporated, Jacqueline Mars ranks 24th on the list, with a net worth of $42.6 billion.
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