This week, it was announced that MacKenzie Scott gifted hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to organizations who need it most as part of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest people and families to donate the majority of their wealth back to the community.
Scott was married to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, from 1993 to 2019. Their divorce last year made her the third wealthiest woman in the world and one of the wealthiest people overall with a net worth of $64.5 billion.
In a heartfelt post for Medium, Scott made clear that her wealth is the “product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.”
“Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror,” she wrote. “Life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.”
She continued, “Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change. People troubled by recent events can make new connections between privileges they’ve enjoyed and benefits they’ve taken for granted. From there, many will choose to share some of what they have with people whose equal participation is essential to the construction of a better world.”
Last year, Scott asked a team of nonprofit advisors to help her find and assess organizations that have major impacts on a variety of causes.
Though she notes the work is “ongoing” and will “last for years,” Scott shared updates on the organizations she has donated to via grants as an effort to call attention to “organizations and leaders driving change.”
Of the foundation receiving these donations are LGBTQ+ orgs like:
* National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), which advances lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality through impact litigation, public policy, and public education.
* SAGE, which advocates for the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ seniors.
* GLSEN, which works to ensure that LGBTQ+ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.
* Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which works to advance LGBTQ+ human rights around the globe.
* The Point Foundation, which empowers promising LGBTQ+ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential through college scholarships.
* Lambda Legal, which is committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.
* PFLAG, which provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies.
* Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people.
“Between the pandemic and years of being hit hard by dangerous and damaging anti-LGBTQ+ policies at the local, state, and federal level, families and our LGBTQ+ loved ones have depended on PFLAG, perhaps more than ever. PFLAG National is grateful to MacKenzie Scott for her generosity, which will help strengthen our infrastructure, grow our staff, and build new programs that will bring new allies along to the fight for LGBTQ+ affirmation and equality,” Brian Bond, executive director of PFLAG National, said in a statement.
Ninety-one percent of the racial equity organizations on Scott’s list are led by people of color, and 100 percent of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders.
Furthermore, 83 percent of the gender equity organizations are run be women.
“All of these leaders and organizations have a track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields,” she explained. “I gave each a contribution and encouraged them to spend it on whatever they believe best serves their efforts. Unless organization leadership requested otherwise, all commitments were paid up front and left unrestricted to provide them with maximum flexibility."
She added, "I recommend these organizations to anyone similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress. Every one of them is tackling complex challenges that will require sustained effort over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. And every one of them would benefit from more allies looking to share wealth of all types and sizes, including money, volunteer time, supplies, advocacy, publicity, networks and relationships, collaboration, encouragement, and trust.”
Below are the areas in which these donations, collectively, have been distributed:
Racial Equity: $ 586,700,000
LGBTQ+ Equity: $ 46,000,000
Gender Equity: $ 133,000,000
Economic Mobility: $ 399,500,000
Empathy & Bridging Divides: $ 55,000,000
Functional Democracy: $ 72,000,000
Public Health: $ 128,300,000
Global Development: $ 130,000,000
Climate Change: $ 125,000,000
Below is the list of all the organizations Scott has graciously donated to, all of which were hand picked by her and vetted by nonprofit advisors.
[The below organizations] are a “daily reminder that we can each carry more than we imagine. And they offer an opportunity to invest our good fortune in change, no matter what form our good fortune has taken,” she wrote.