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MacKenzie Bezos Net Worth, Nazak Nikakhtar, Women Instacart: Broadsheet May 28

May 28, 2019, 10:30 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! We visit the women running Quebec’s wine scene, a Cambridge college gets its first black leader, and MacKenzie Bezos has money to share. Make the most of your Tuesday.


 MacKenzie's money. When the Bezoses finalized their divorce in April, MacKenzie Bezos walked away with what's now worth $36.6 billion. Her newfound individual fortune catapulted her to into the top echelon of the world’s richest people, where few women exist. She’s currently No. 22.

At the time of the divorce, I wrote about why her money matters. First, there is inherent power that accompanies such extraordinary sums, so it’s worth pointing out the rare occasions when it ends up in women’s hands. Second, in managing their wealth, women are more socially-minded; they’re more interested than men in 'sustainable' investing, according to a Morgan Stanley survey, and “making the greatest impact” is the top factor in their charitable giving, according to research by The Economist Intelligence and RBC Wealth Management. (Men’s is tax benefits.)

In April, MacKenzie Bezos didn’t indicate what she’d do with her money. “Excited about my own plans,” was about all she said. But today she lived up to that earlier analysis by signing up to Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, which commits the uber-rich to giving away at least half of their fortunes.

"We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand," she said in a letter supporting the Pledge. "In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty."

Buffett and Bill Gates started the Giving Pledge in 2010, and each year they invite wealthy individuals to sign on. MacKenzie Bezos is one of 18 new signatories this year, which brings the Pledge's total number of philanthropists to 203.

In covering the news, the Financial Times included this aside: “Mr. Bezos, the world’s richest man, is notably absent from the list.”

Claire Zillman



 A hardliner on Huawei. Here's a profile of Nazak Nikakhtar, acting head of the Commerce Department’s bureau of industry and security, who's "a little-known hardliner playing a big role in implementing the [Trump] administration’s combustible international economic agenda." Her current project? Overseeing the U.S. crackdown on Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei. Financial Times

 Cheers to that. For Fortune, Katie Sehl dives into Quebec's wine scene—one where women are running the show, especially compared to France. Véronique Rivest is one of the sommeliers at the forefront of the industry. Fortune

Special delivery. Women in their 40s and 50s now make up more than half the contractors working for major food delivery apps like Instacart, DoorDash, Postmates, and Shipt. They're drawn to the flexibility of the work and to its relative safety, since these gig economy jobs don't mean inviting a stranger into your car. NPR

 Military IDs. For Memorial Day, the New York Times looked at Arlington, Virginia's Women in Military Service for America Memorial—underfunded by federal money and, the story theorizes, female veterans who prefer to focus on their civilian identities after returning home compared to their male peers. New York Times


Masako's moment. President Donald Trump's state visit to Japan this weekend put a spotlight on Empress Masako, finally allowed to use her Harvard education and multilingualism now that she has a role in the Imperial Family other than producing an heir. The Japanese public was impressed by the empress's fluent English as she spoke with the Trumps. New York Times

 College-bound. Sonita Alleyne is the first black person to lead a college at either Oxford or Cambridge, the U.K.'s most prestigious universities, after being elected master of Jesus College at Cambridge. The entrepreneur who's chairwoman of the British Board of Film Classification's management council is also the first female head of the college, which, at 523 years old, is Cambridge's oldest. Guardian

 Marine v. Macron. One outcome of Europe's elections this past week: Marine Le Pen's far-right anti-EU National Rally beat out the party of Emmanuel Macron, marking a sort of resurgence for the firebrand politician following her failed 2017 bid for the French presidency. Reuters

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