March 26, 2024

MacKenzie Scott Has Now Given Away $16.5 Billion with New Grants Announced, Since Divorcing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Here’s a hypothetical: You want to give away $640 million, but you want to give it away to many different groups. How do you find the groups? How do you process value judgments between charities and non-profit organizations and decide who to uplift and who to ignore?

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has figured it out, as part of her commitment to relinquish all the money she received in her divorce settlement with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

She had already given away billions, but wanted to hone the process in time for her next distribution.

An organization set up to help her navigate this problem, Yield Giving, recently completed an open call process for a grant money giveaway wherein Scott donated double the millions she originally earmarked—in the end, helping 361 charities and nonprofits with grants of one to two million dollars each.

Yield Giving conducted investigations into the processes, transparency, and effectiveness of all the orgs that applied for a grant through the open call process alongside an organizer called Levers for Change.

The evaluation was done through “careful analysis of criteria specific to their size, geography, and mission for indicators of high potential for sustained positive impact, including stable finances, multi-year track records, measurement and evidence of outcomes, and experienced leadership representative of the community served,” Yield wrote on their website.

“The 279 nonprofits that received top scores from an external review panel were awarded $2 million, while 82 organizations in a second tier received $1 million each,” AP News reported.

In a blog post on Yield Giving, Ms. Scott explained the process that saw Levers for Change whittle through a pool of over 6,000 applicants.

“Each of these 361 community-led non-profits was elevated… for their outstanding work advancing the voices and opportunities of individuals and families of meager or modest means, and groups who have met with discrimination and other systemic obstacles,” she wrote.

A scroll through the total list of recipients shows that many of the donations went to human-centered work: improving opportunities for disadvantaged youth, aiding those unfairly battered by the criminal justice system, connecting victims of trauma and violence with people and groups who can help them, or securing stability for the homeless or immigrants, just to name a few.



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