Mackenzie Scott, a billionaire philanthropist and the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $133.5 million to the educational nonprofit Communities In Schools (CIS), an organisation that helps students navigate issues inside and outside of the classroom.
CIS announced the donation on Thursday, calling the donation “transformative.”
“At a time when the global pandemic has particularly hurt students with fewer community resources or adequate supports, this investment will help CIS to carry out its mission to break down the systemic barriers that stand in the way of opportunity and student success,” the organisation said in a statement.
Scott’s donation is the largest unrestricted donation in the charity’s history, he added. Rey Saldaña, the charity’s president and chief executive, told in an interview, he was overwhelmed with the generosity. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you think about all the work you can do.”
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Scott is worth an estimated $47 billion and has signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give away her fortune “until the vault is empty.” Her fortunes have grown since she divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019 after 25 years of marriage. She received a 4% stake in the company as part of the pair’s divorce settlement, and Amazon’s stock has soared since their split.
Scott, 51, has donated more than $8.6 billion of her wealth, roughly four times more than her ex-husband Jeff Bezos, whose lifetime donations total $2.1 billion, according to a Forbes compilation released on January 19.
Bezos, 58, is currently the third richest person in the world with a net worth of $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He was criticised for not giving away more of his immense wealth.
In May 2019, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a charitable-giving campaign in which she undertook to give away most of her wealth to charity over her lifetime or in her will; despite its name, the pledge is not legally binding.
In a July 2020 Medium post, Scott announced that she had donated $1.7 billion to 116 non-profit organisations, with a focus on racial equality, LGBTQ+ equality, democracy and climate change. Her gifts to HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and other colleges surpass $800 million.