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MacKenzie Scott Remains Committed to Philanthropic Goal

The author has already donated millions of dollars to organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Madre.
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MacKenzie Scott could very easily spend her days traveling the world on a private jet, buying up mega-mansions and expensive cars and investing millions in trips to outerspace. Instead, the 51-year-old pledged to give away most of her roughly $50 billion fortune to various causes.

Although Scott had dreams from a young age of being an author, the early stages of her professional life involved working at New York City investment firm D.E. Shaw. There, she met Jeff Bezos, and the two married in 1993. A year later, their lives would begin to change forever, leading Scott down a path of earning (and then donating) billions. That is, of course, because the couple went on to start Amazon.

But while the company experienced incredible growth in the decades that followed, Scott and Bezos’s relationship fizzled. In 2019, the pair officially divorced, leaving Scott with a 4% stake in the company and a net worth of about $50 billion. In fact, she is the third-wealthiest woman in the United States and the 21st-wealthiest individual in the world.

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Holding on to that level of wealth simply didn't sit well with the generous businesswoman. So, in 2019 she pledged to give away the majority of her wealth. “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 wrote in a letter announcing her pledge. "In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share."

Since that announcement, Scott has given away more than $12 billion to almost 1,200 groups, including $436 million to Habitat for Humanity and $15 million to aid and human rights organization Madre. In the past few months, that's included $3.9 billion in gifts to organizations that support climate change education and Ukraine relief efforts.

Most recently, the author—who's published two novels—donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood, marking the largest-ever gift made to the organization. "Our team's focus over these last nine months has included some new areas, but as always, our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds," she wrote in an essay announcing the donation.

Not surprisingly, the philanthropist has been recognized for her efforts. She was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and one of the world's most powerful women by Forbes in 2021. And with billions more to go, Scott is bound to be cemented as one of the most giving people in history.

"We are all human," she said. "And we all have enormous energy to devote to helping and protecting those we love." 

Beginning on International Women’s Day (March 8), the Pay With Change initiative will be front and center on SI Swim channels through daily spotlights on the women, brands and properties making a concerted effort to fight for women’s equality.