MacKenzie Scott is done announcing how many billions she’s given away—at least for now

December 8, 2021, 8:55 PM UTC
MacKenzie Scott in 2018.
Danny Moloshok—Reuters

MacKenzie Scott is done announcing how many billions of dollars she’s given away—at least for now. The billionaire, whose $59 billion fortune comes from the Amazon shares she retained during her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, believes people have been too fixated on the numbers, versus focusing on the organizations she’s supported.

Since 2020, Scott has announced at least $8.5 billion in donations on her Medium blog to causes spanning higher education, racial justice, climate change, and more. Since her last announcement, in June, Scott says she has given away more of her fortune, but she’s not sharing those details today.

“I’m not including here any amounts of money I’ve donated since my prior posts,” she wrote on her blog. “I want to let each of these incredible teams speak for themselves first if they choose to, with the hope that when they do, media focuses on their contributions instead of mine.”

Organizations that have received gifts from Scott include Howard University, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, RAINN, and the Trevor Project.

Scott first hinted at her dissatisfaction with coverage of her donations in June, when she said too much attention was focused on her, but still shared financial updates on her giving.

In her essay, Scott said she doesn’t identify with the label “philanthropy”—arguably what she is now best known to the world for—rejecting its associations with “financially wealthy people who believed they knew best how to solve other people’s problems.” Instead, she’d rather focus on everyday people of all income levels, who give their money, time, and resources to those in need.

She says that coverage of large-scale philanthropy misses out on person-to-person giving, which is not included in those metrics, and other forms of everyday generosity.

Scott also reflected on her approach to philanthropy, which has been to rapidly distribute large sums to a large number of organizations—rather than centralizing all giving through her own foundation or other more traditional methods. “I understand that this approach, and probably any approach, will mean having given to organizations that might make choices I wouldn’t make myself, but that’s the point,” she wrote. “I believe the gifts will do more good if others are free from my ideas about what they should do. And this trust — another resource it’s difficult to measure — is the aspect of gifts that many have said they value most.”

Scott in 2019 signed Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give away the bulk of her fortune over her lifetime. In March 2021, her new husband, Dan Jewett, joined her pledge.

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