By most accounts, Jeff Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez began at some point in 2018. By the fall of 2018, he and his wife Mackenzie Bezos had quietly separated, and then in January 2019, the National Enquirer tried to “out” Bezos for the affair. Shenanigans ensued, but we don’t have to recap all of that. Jeff Bezos is still with Lauren Sanchez and I still feel like he’s going to regret that long-term. He lost a real one when he divorced Mackenzie. Mackenzie ended up walking out of the marriage with about $36 BILLION, mostly in Amazon stock. Last year, she signed The Giving Pledge, which is just a promise to donate at least half of her wealth to charity in her lifetime (or in her will). She’s already started (and now she has a new name!).
MacKenzie Scott, formerly MacKenzie Bezos, has already donated nearly $1.7 billion of her fortune to a variety of organizations and causes after pledging last year to give most of it away during her lifetime. Scott on Tuesday provided an update on that effort in a post on Medium and also announced that she has changed her last name to the middle name she grew up with, following her divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last year.
Scott received a quarter of Bezos’ Amazon shares in the couple’s divorce settlement last year, giving her a 4% stake that was worth more than $35 billion at the time. Her net worth is currently estimated to be around $60 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.
“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” Scott wrote. “What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.”
The $1.7 billion donation was spread across 116 organizations focused on one of nine “areas of need,” she added, including racial equity, LGBTQ+ equity, functional democracy and climate change. Among the organizations she backed are the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, RAINN and the European Climate Foundation.
Bezos, the world’s richest man, has previously been criticized for not contributing more of his wealth to philanthropy, but has donated billions of dollars in recent years to causes including climate change and food banks. He has not signed the Giving Pledge.
I have no comprehension of what it would feel like to be worth $36-60 billion. I just can’t even fathom. I can’t even do the mental breakdown of giving away $1.7 billion across 116 charities and organizations. What, about $10 million per charity? And she literally has $50 billion-plus in cash and stocks left.
One of the charities she gave to? CAMFED, the organization which supports girls’ education on the African continent. Mackenzie’s contribution will support five million girls in “Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe over the next five years, and millions more into the future.” The Duchess of Sussex is the royal patron for CAMFED.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.