MacKenzie Scott Gives Away $2.7 Billion To ‘Historically Underfunded And Overlooked’ Organizations

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the third-richest woman in the world, announced she will be donating another $2.7 billion to a number of charities and organizations.

In a blog post titled, “Seeding by Ceding,” Scott said that she wanted to “de-emphasize privileged voices and cede focus to others,” despite knowing that “some media stories will focus on wealth.”

“The headline I would wish for this post is ‘286 Teams Empowering Voices the World Needs to Hear,’” Scott said.

“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,” wrote Scott.

Scott then stated that she, her husband and a number of advisers were looking 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 said.

Scott said that the first quarter of 2021 was spent “identifying and evaluating equity-oriented non-profit teams working in areas that have been neglected,” with “community-centered service” being “a powerful catalyst and multiplier.” 

“The result was $2,739,000,000 in gifts to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked,” Scott announced. At the end of the blog post, 286 organizations were listed that included “2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved.”

Scott also wrote that “Discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities has been deepening,” saying they “assessed organizations bridging divides through interfaith support and collaboration.”

Scott added that they “chose to make relatively large gifts” to the chosen organizations, “both to enable their work, and as a signal of trust and encouragement, to them and to others.”

“Would they still benefit from more (more advocates, more money, more volunteers)?” Scott asked. “Yes. Like those we shared in July and December of 2020, these 286 teams were selected through a rigorous process of research and analysis. 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. 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.”

“Because we believe that teams with experience on the front lines of challenges will know best how to put the money to good use, we encouraged them to spend it however they choose. Many reported that this trust significantly increased the impact of the gift. There is nothing new about amplifying gifts by yielding control. People have been doing it in living rooms and classrooms and workplaces for thousands of years. It empowers receivers by making them feel valued and by unlocking their best solutions. Generosity is generative. Sharing makes more,” Scott concluded, before sharing a “favorite verse by Rumi.”

“A candle as it diminishes explains,

Gathering more and more is not the way.

Burn, become light and heat and help. Melt.”

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