By Chance Meeting and Camille Birdsong
MacKenzie Scott, author and ex-wife of the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, has used her divorce settlement in the most interesting way. After receiving 25% of Bezos’ stake in Amazon, she pledged to begin giving the majority of her money away, in the billions, one cause at a time.
Scott donated $1.7 billion to 116 nonprofits including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other causes supporting women and LGBTQ Rights. She also became the second-largest donor to racial equity causes while also donating to causes fighting climate change.
“There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is a product of collective effort and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,” Scott wrote in her blog post, alluding to the privilege of her and her ex-husband and the struggles of those in this country affected by the systemic inequality often perpetuated by the greed of those privileged enough to amass such wealth.
Out of the numerous causes and organizations, Hampton University was gifted a donation of $30 million by Ms. Scott. When asked about the donation on politico Roland Martin’s digital show, Hampton University’s President Dr. William R. Harvey said, “I am pleased and thankful to Ms. Scott. A lot of people do a lot of talking, but she actually acted. She gave away $1.7 Billion! She actually gave to six HBCUs, along with support to UNCF and she also gave it to Thurgood Marshall. I am just very thankful to her.”
Along with Hampton University, Scott gave to five other HBCUs including Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Tuskegee University.
The world could use more people like MacKenzie Scott, a mother of four and novelist who will be remembered for her contributions to the betterment of this world and not for the greed that so often defines it.