Ex-wife of Jeff Bezos donates £1.32bn to charity after Amazon shares increase in lockdown

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has donated £1.32 billion to charity in the last year, she has revealed.

Mackenzie Scott, who was previously known as MacKenzie Bezos, pledged to donate the majority of her fortune after splitting from the world’s richest man last year.

After signing up to the Giving Pledge, started by Bill and Melinda Gates, the 50-year-old gave millions each to anti-racism, LGBTQ rights, public health and climate change charities, she wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

Ms Scott, who is worth at least £46.4bn ($60bn) also revealed she has changed her surname – from her married name to her middle name.

She wrote: “Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror.

“I began work to complete my pledge with the belief that my life had yielded two assets that could be of particular value to others: the money these systems helped deliver to me, and a conviction that people who have experience with inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions.”

Image:Mr Bezos is giving evidence to a US congressional committee this week

Amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, Ms Scott gave the most money to racial equality non-profit organisations. She gave the least – £35.6m – to LGBTQ rights.

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Ms Scott’s divorce from Mr Bezos left her with a 4% stake in Amazon, which was worth £27.8bn ($36bn) at the time.

But after online sales rocketed during coronavirus lockdowns across the globe, Ms Scott has seen her fortune increase by billions this year.

The Giving Pledge has also been signed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, but Mr Bezos has not signed up.

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His ex-wife’s announcement comes a day before he appears before Congress, which has been investigating how Amazon used its market power to hurt smaller rivals.

The couple, who have four children together, divorced after he had an affair with US news anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Ms Scott’s donations by charity sector:

Racial equality – £454m ($586.7m)

Economic mobility – £309.1m ($399.5m)

Gender equality – £102.9m ($133m)

Global development – £100.6 ($130m)

Public Health – £99.3m ($128.3m)

Climate change – £96.7m ($125m)

Functional democracy – £55.72 ($72m)

Empathy and bridging divides £42.56 – ($55m)

LGBTQ equality – £35.6 ($46m)

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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