MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, gave nearly US$4.2 billion to charity over the lpast four months.
Scott revealed in a blog post that she gave money to 384 organisations across the United States. These included food banks, social services programmes, civil rights groups, colleges and universities.
“This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott said in her blog post. While admitting that the pandemic has “substantially increased” the wealth of billionaires like herself.
“It would be easy for all the people who drew the long demographic straws in this crisis to hole up at home feeling a mix of gratitude and guilt, and wait for it to be over — but that’s not what’s happening,” she added.
Scott said her team of advisors selected the recipients of her gifts from an initial pool of nearly 6,500 organisations based on their ability to use the money effectively. The advisors conducted extensive research into the charities that involved hundreds of emails and phone interviews and “thousands of pages of data analysis,” she said.
Each donation will be paid upfront and left unrestricted so the organisations have plenty of flexibility in how to use the funds, Scott said.
“The responses from people who took the calls [from Scott’s team] often included personal stories and tears,” she said. “Their stories and tears invariably made me and my teammates cry.”