Writer Mackenzie Scott is making headlines for donating $12 billion in 3 years. She is currently one of the biggest philanthropists in the world.
Mackenzie Scott’s childhood was spent among richness. Her father Jason Baker Tuttle worked as a financial advisor and her mother Holiday Robin Cumming was a stay-at-home mom. The family had an expensive home in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood in San Francisco and another house in the town of Ross. And Mackenzie was the second child among three kids, and her life was breezy.
She was a born writer and started writing from an early age itself. She remembers writing her first novel of 142 pages at age six. The novel was named ‘The Bookworm’ and was about the adventures of a worm who loved to read. “It took me almost a year of afternoons lying on our living room carpet with a stack of Oreos, a sheaf of kindergarten newsprint, and a fat pencil,” Mackenzie wrote in a letter, “and I distinctly remember the moment when it first occurred to me that I loved writing differently than I loved riding my bike or swimming.”
Her father was still successful while Mackenzie was in her teenage years, and she was attending the Hotchkiss boarding school in Connecticut. Shortly before she turned 17, her father’s firm went bankrupt, and the fortunes of the family were gone. After graduating from high school, the expenses of college were a big question mark for Mackenzie Scott. However, she managed to secure a scholarship and joined Princeton University. But now she had a heavier burden at her hand. “I went off to college knowing I was going to have to work a variety of jobs to put myself through school,” Mackenzie Scott has said. She had to wait at tables and do other odd jobs, along with her studies.
They were years drenched with poverty and the burden of studies that she has to manage with heavily tiring part-time jobs. However, she also got a wonderful reward for her hardships during this time. She was able to learn creative writing under the renowned writer Toni Morrison. Ms Morrison, who died in 2019, called Ms Scott an “extraordinary writer, almost full-blown.”
After graduating, Ms Scott found herself again juggling between waiting tables and writing novels. It was not easy. She rarely found time to write. Later when she was 23, she fell in love and married Jeffrey Preston Bezos, who later in his life found Amazon.
After her marriage, Ms Scott was able to fully concentrate on writing. When Jeffery quit his job and started building Amazon as a small company in a garage, she was supporting him. But if Amazon was Mr Bezos’ dream, Ms Scott’s dream was to be a writer. And she did not give up on that. Ms Scott’s first book, “The Testing of Luther Albright,” which took 10 years to complete came out in 2005.
MacKenzie Scott’s mother Holiday Tuttle was a philanthropist who often worked on fund-raisers and gave donations. Mackenzie and Jeffery ventured into philanthropy in 2004, and they joined Bezos Family Foundation, which was formed by Jeffery Benzo’s parents. The foundation has since then given away more than $300 Million in charity. In 2011, Mr Bezos and Ms Scott donated $15 million to Princeton for a centre to study the brain. The following year they gave $2.5 million in support of a same-sex marriage referendum.
Despite all this richness, Mackenzie Scott has always been a simple and private person. She has not given many interviews and preferred to remain out of the limelight. In 2013, her second book ‘Traps’ was published.
In September 2018, Mr Bezos and Ms Scott pledged $2 billion to open Montessori-inspired preschools and support homeless families. It was their biggest commitment to charity yet and likely among their last as a couple. In January 2019, Ms Scott and Mr Bezos jointly announced on his Twitter account that they were divorcing.
Her biggest pledge as a single woman came the following year when a lot of millionaires pledged to give away half of their wealth, Ms Scott pledged to ‘keep at it until the safe is empty’. Non-profit organisations soon began receiving calls and emails about enormous grants from an anonymous donor. These donations were often the biggest donation in the group’s history or the equivalent of a full year’s budget. The organisations announced that they cannot disclose the source until the donor did.
And in 2020, Ms Scott tweeted her ambitions as a Philanthropist and also about the fact that she is changing her last name from Mackenzie Bezos to Mackenzie Scott (Scott being her grandfather’s middle name).
In the past two years, Mackenzie Scott has donated overwhelmingly to charity. She gave money to groups led by women, people of colour, and members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community or all three. She was no longer seen publicly as Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife first. She was MacKenzie Scott, the novelist upending philanthropy. Mackenzie Scott married chemistry teacher Dan Jewett in 2021.
Over the past year, Ms Scott has announced grants totalling $6.6 billion. For comparison, the Gates Foundation said it paid out $5.8 billion in grants in 2020. Last June, Ms Scott announced another round of giving, $2.7 billion this time. However, she preferred to remain in the dark and has not disclosed how many billion have gone out the door since June. Her organisation ‘Lost Horse’ like to remain hidden from the public eye and media.
Last month, Ms Scott published her latest missive charity, announcing another $3.86 billion in gifts. With this, she has donated more than $12 billion to charity. That is what is in the public eye. We do not know how much Ms Scott has donated in private. “We are all human,” Mackenzie Scott wrote in a post. “And we all have enormous energy to devote to helping and protecting those we love.”
Credits: New York Time
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