MacKenzie Scott is giving away her fortune at an unprecedented pace, donating more than $4 billion in four months after announcing $1.7 billion in gifts in July.
The world’s 18th-richest person outlined the latest contributions in a blog post-Tuesday, saying she asked her team to figure out how to give away her fortune faster. Scott’s wealth has climbed $23.6 billion this year to $60.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as Amazon.com Inc., the primary source of her fortune, has surged.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” she wrote in the post on Medium. “Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
Scott’s gifts this year approach $6 billion, which “has to be one of the biggest annual distributions by a living individual” to working charities, according to Melissa Berman, chief executive officer of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Berman said Scott’s donations show that it’s possible to give large amounts quickly without requiring nonprofits to “jump through a lot of hoops to get the money.” The size of Scott’s gifts also disprove a common theory that’s it’s hard to deploy vast amounts of money without running into trouble or proving wasteful.
Scott’s advisers zeroed-in on 384 groups to receive gifts, she said in the post, after considering almost 6,500 organizations. Donations were focused on those “operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.”
Recipients include more than 30 institutions of higher education, including several tribal colleges and historically Black colleges and universities. More than 40 food banks received money, as did almost four dozen local affiliates of Goodwill Industries International.
Scott King, the executive director for Meals on Wheels of Tampa, said he didn’t even apply for the grant they received. Instead, her team contacted the nonprofit, which delivers food to about 850 homes and makes about 2,600 meals each day.