MacKenzie Scott Worth $36B, ‘Revolutionized Philanthropy’ Since Bezos Divorce

Estimated read time 4 min read
  • MacKenzie Scott, 53, is a philanthropist, novelist, and the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos.
  • Bezos and Scott finalized their divorce in 2019.
  • Scott was raised in San Francisco and attended Princeton University.

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is reportedly engaged to Lauren Sanchez, but was married to MacKenzie Scott for 25 years.

The couple, who have three sons and a daughter together, had their divorce finalized in July 2019. The $38 billion settlement kicked off Scott’s journey into charitable giving.

Scott is 39th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, worth $36 billion, and is one of the world’s richest women. 

She’s one of just 11 US billionaire philanthropists to give away more than a fifth of their wealth, according to Forbes.

Scott has signed the Giving Pledge initiative, committing to giving away half her wealth.

‘Revolutionized philanthropy’

In 2022 alone, Scott donated almost $2 billion to 343 organizations. She topped that in 2023, with almost $2.2 billion worth of grants donated to 360 organizations. 

“It’s no overstatement to say that MacKenzie Scott has revolutionized philanthropy,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the CEO of a refugee charity that received a donation from Scott, previously told Business Insider.

Scott donated two Beverly Hills mansions worth $55 million to the housing charity California Community Foundation in 2022.

In March 2023, Scott’s philanthropic platform Yield Giving invited nonprofits to apply for a set of $1 million donations to be awarded to 250 recipients who, if selected, will receive the money without restrictions. The selections will be announced in early 2024.

Scott’s philanthropy has drawn scorn from one of the world’s richest people, Elon Musk.

“‘Super rich ex-wives who hate their former spouse’ should filed be listed among ‘Reasons that Western Civilization died,'” he wrote in a since-deleted post in March.

Musk, who has been a vocal critic of DEI initiatives, was replying to another user’s claims that the majority of Scott’s chosen charities were organizations that “deal with issues of race and/or gender.” 

Two-time author 

Scott, 53, is also a novelist and the author of two published literary fiction books. “The Testing of Luther Albright” was published in 2005 and earned her an American Book Award the following year. “Traps” was released in 2013.

She technically authored her first book, “The Book Worm,” as a 6-year-old, but the handwritten, 142-page novel was lost in a flood.

Scott was raised in San Francisco and attended Princeton University. She worked as an assistant to Toni Morrison in college, alongside other jobs, including dishwasher, waitress, clothing salesperson, deli cashier, data entry clerk, tutor, and nanny.

After graduating, Scott worked for investment management firm D.E. Shaw as a research associate before marrying Bezos. Amazon was founded in 1993, and Scott became the company’s first accountant.

Her first novel took her 10 years to complete while she juggled the demands of her growing family. She kept a separate apartment where she would write when time permitted.

In a post on publisher Weidenfeld and Nicolson’s blog, Scott said of her second novel: “I have no specific hopes about what anyone might think or feel reading ‘Traps’ except that they have fun, and that it feels real and powerful enough to them to affect how they see their own lives a little bit.”

Scott, who lives in Seattle, got remarried in 2021 to a teacher named Dan Jewett. The couple filed for divorce the following year.

Legal experts say it’s likely Scott had a prenuptial agreement in place with her second husband — something Scott and Bezos lacked.

A regulatory filing showed that Scott sold $10.4 billion of her Amazon shares in 2023, roughly a quarter of her stake in the company. 

Áine Cain and Paige Leskin contributed to an earlier version of this story.