In August 2010, 40 of the richest people in America gave birth to The Giving Pledge by committing half of their funds to charity. Since then, 204 people from 23 countries — including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, and more — have pledged to do the same.
Over the weekend, MacKenzie Bezos became the latest person to commit to The Giving Pledge. On Saturday, Bezos published a letter with the organization pledging at least half of her $35 billion fortune to charity.
“We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” Bezos wrote. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
Back in January, Bezos announced that she and her husband, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, were seeking a divorce. As part of the agreement, Bezos will retain 25 percent of her former husband’s $143 billion stake in Amazon, PC Mag reported. This arrangement will make Bezos the third richest woman in the world.
Bezos herself originally announced the settlement online, tweeting, “Happy to be giving [Jeff] all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares.”
“Excited about my own plans. Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next,” Bezos went on to say.
However, some have critiqued the move by pointing out that part of Amazon’s fortune comes from the company not paying taxes. In 2019, Amazon paid $0 in federal income taxes for the second year in a row.
For many, Bezos donation combined with Amazon’s lack of tax history pointed to a larger problem.
“Alternative idea: Amazon could pay taxes, so the country doesn’t have to depend on philanthropy,” one user tweeted.
Bezos joins WhatsApp’s co-founder Brian Acton, hedge fund billionaires David Harding and Paul Tudor Jones, along with other notable tech names on the pledge list. Needless to say, even with half of her fortune committed to charity, Bezos will remain a wealthy woman.