In 1985, at the age of 8 years old, I discovered Brewster's Millions with Richard Pryor and John Candy.  The storyline captivated me as Monty Brewster (Richard Pryor) had to spend $30 million in one month in order to receive a full inheritance of his late uncle's $300 million fortune.  Hilarity ensued as he had to spend, spend, spend.  Well, this story is nothing like that. Its a lot more philanthropical and uplifting but MacKenzie Scott sure is spending like she's up against the clock to donate billions!

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Let me tell you about MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and graduate of New Jersey's own Princeton University.  She's apparently a saint, gifting billions.  But before we get to that, let's get some history and background.  MacKenzie and Jeff were married in 1993 and the couple remained married for 26 years until their divorce last year.  During those years, the couple had 4 children, she wrote 2 books (1 award winning), and Jeff's business blossomed, becoming a multi-billion-dollar juggernaut.  When they divorced it was reportedly worth over $140 billion.  MacKenzie reportedly scored $38.3 billion worth of stock as part of the divorce settlement in 2019.  In May of that year, MacKenzie signed The Giving Pledge vowing to donate most of her money.

"There are lots of resources each of us can pull from our safes to share with others — time, attention, knowledge, patience, creativity, talent, effort, humor, compassion. 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."  MacKenzie Scott (The Giving Pledge)

So far in 2020, MacKenzie has stepped up, lived up to her promise, and gifted $5.8 billion.  Of that money, she's shared with organizations with focuses on things like the LGBTQ+ community, climate change, assisting folks impacted economically by COVID-19, and more.  In all, 384 organizations have received funds.

MacKenzie writes that she chose to donate to organizations "with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital."

Millions have gone to New Jersey organizations:

  • United Way of Northern New Jersey, reportedly $10 million
  • Community Foundation of New Jersey - New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, reportedly $20 million
  • United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey

Click here for a full list.

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