Jeff Bezos’ ex MacKenzie Scott donates millions to ‘vital’ LGBTQ+ nonprofits, infuriating bigots

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has recently donated millions of dollars to charities, including multiple LGBTQ+ nonprofits, across the US: a move that has angered right-wing bigots.

The billionaire philanthropist and author announced on Tuesday (19 March) that she plans to give $640 million to more than 360 organisations.

The 53-year-old novelist – who was married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (one of the richest people in the world) for 26 years – is reportedly giving most of thoe $640 million in new charitable donations to “leftist” non-profits pushing what the right-wing press are angrily describing as “extreme left-wing causes.”

15 of these organisations directly support the LGBTQ+ community. An additional 82 nonprofits each received an unrestricted $1 million from Scott.

Scott decided which organisations to donate to based on an online database documenting her donations, Yield Giving.

In announcing the distribution of funds, Scott’s statement describes these charities as “vital agents of change.”

Scott added that she wanted to highlight the nonprofits’ “outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meagre or modest means, and groups who have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles.”

Some of the organisations Scott’s donations will benefit from include EdgeNJ (supporting services to those living with HIV and those at risk), Gender Justice (working to dismantle legal, structural, and cultural barriers that contribute to gender inequity), and LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland (one of the nation’s oldest LGBTQ+ community centres).

She’s also giving to groups promoting clean energy, as well as prisoner advocacy groups, and groups supporting migrant rights, prompting the New York Post to label her donations as “woke philanthropy”.

“Bezos’ wife is using the profits he made through capitalism to [fund] the rope that will hang capitalism,” complained one furious right-winger, Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“These things that she’s donating money to – whether it’s transgender ideas, helping illegals, prisoner rights, climate change – they’re all trying to transform our system away from capitalism,” he added.

Did Mackenzie Scott start Amazon?

Jeff Bezos (L) and MacKenzie Scott. (Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
Jeff Bezos (L) and MacKenzie Scott. (Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Scott married Bezos in 1993. The following year, Bezos founded Amazon

Scott was integral to Amazon from day one: she was one of the company’s key contributors, heavily involved in working on the company’s name, business plan, accounts, and shipping early orders. She worked closely at Amazon until 1996 – including negotiating the company’s first freight contract – when she stepped back from the company to focus on her writing career. She’s the author of two novels.

What is Mackenzie Scott’s foundation called?

In May 2019, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a charitable-giving campaign founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Scott has signed on to give away most of her wealth to charity over her lifetime or in her will.

In a continuation of her philanthropy, Scott established her foundation Yield Giving

Yield Giving says that it conducts research to identify organisations that advance the opportunities of people in underserved communities and then the organisation helps fund the charities and their missions.

To date, Yield Giving has donated funds to “2,300+ non-profit teams to use as they see fit for the benefit of others.”

Even before this latest round of funding, Scott had already given away $16.5B of the fortune she came into after divorcing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019.

How much money did MacKenzie Scott take from Jeff Bezos?

Jeff Bezos (L) and MacKenzie Scott. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeff Bezos (L) and MacKenzie Scott. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Following her divorce from Bezos in 2019, Scott was left with $35.6 billion in Amazon stock. 

In September 2020, Scott was named the world’s richest woman and in December of the same year, her net worth was estimated to have risen to $62 billion.

However, since her divorce, according to her website Scott has donated billions of dollars worth of her divorce settlements to over 2,300 organisations.

As of January 2024, Scott has a 4% stake in Amazon and her net worth is estimated at $40.6 billion.