Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott — former wife of billionaire and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — is spreading her wealth all around this week to offer support to those affected by the pandemic.
“The pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” Scott wrote in a Medium post. “Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
HBCU recipients of Scott’s generous donation include Bowie State University, Alcorn State University, Clark Atlanta University, Virginia State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Morgan State University.
For some of these universities, this gift marks a historical feat for the largest donation from an individual received all at once.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Morgan State University receives a historic gift of $40M from philanthropist @MackenzieScott.
This is the largest individual donation in Morgan history and will support student success, spur research and further our strategic plan ➡️ https://t.co/7FR5d0yQtx
— Morgan State University (@MorganStateU) December 15, 2020
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the recipient of a $20 million donation from philanthropist and novelist @MackenzieScott, the largest gift from an individual in our school’s history. #UMES https://t.co/12uSwqnGHj pic.twitter.com/NacKwZZ46B
— UMES (@UMESNews) December 15, 2020
“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” said Morgan State University President David Wilson in a statement. “I thank Ms. Scott for her due diligence and acknowledgment of the substantive value Morgan offers to so many throughout this nation and around the world, and entrusting that we will ensure the enduring impact of her generosity is truly transformational for many years to come.”
Schools like Morgan State were selected as recipients based on the university’s commitment to racial justice and equity. Now they’ll be able to use these new donations toward their endowment funds.
“We’re grateful to Ms. Scott for recognizing the great work we do at University of Maryland Eastern Shore especially with first-generation college students and under-represented minorities,” said University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Heidi M. Anderson in a statement.
Scott — now the 18th richest person in the world — was given $38 billion after her split from Bezos back in 2019. Over the past year, her wealth has accumulated to $60 billion due to Amazon’s rising stock during the pandemic, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
Scott hopes her desire to give to the underserved during this time also inspires others to gain a charitable spirit as well.
“If you’re craving a way to use your time, voice, or money to help others at the end of this difficult year, I highly recommend a gift to one of the thousands of organizations doing remarkable work all across the country,” she said in her blog post. “Every one of them could benefit from more resources to share with the communities they’re serving. And the hope you feed with your gift is likely to feed your own.”