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Jeff Bezos vs. MacKenzie Scott: How do the Former Spouses’ Philanthropic Efforts Stack Up?

Their gift-giving strategies couldn’t be more different.

Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott Brent N. Clarke/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019; since then, each has donated hefty sums to various philanthropies. However, their gift-giving strategies couldn’t be more different: Bezos has focused on big-ticket announcements, while Scott has quietly imparted billions to foundations in just two years, sharing her thoughts on the matter via blog posts. One approach isn’t inherently better than the other, of course—here’s what the two have to show for it so far.

Jeff Bezos

MacKenzie Scott

MADE THEIR FORTUNE

By founding Amazon in a Seattle garage in the 1990s.

MADE THEIR FORTUNE

Through the 4 percent of Amazon shares she received in her widely publicized divorce from Bezos. She was the company’s first accountant and helped coin its current name (the original moniker, Cadabra, sounded too much like “cadaver”).

TOTAL PHILANTHROPIC DONATIONS

$1.5 Billion (about 0.01 percent of his networth)

TOTAL PHILANTHROPIC DONATIONS

$8.6 Billion (about 18 percent of her networth)

DAY JOB

The Amazon executive chairman journeyed to infinity and beyond last year with his aerospace company, Blue Origin, and now seems to be investing in Silicon Valley antiaging start-ups. (Should they succeed, he may have more time to give away his massive fortune.)

Blue Origin

LM Otero/AP

DAY JOB

Novelist. Her two books received fewer than 3.5 stars each on Goodreads. (Not exactly glowing reviews, but she did study under Toni Morrison while at Princeton.)

PHILANTHROPY SCORE (AS PER FORBES)

1

The lowest possible. Oof. He’s in good company, sharing the spot with space-race competitor Elon Musk.

Elon Musk

Christophe Gateau/AP

PHILANTHROPY SCORE (AS PER FORBES)

4

The second highest possible. Not bad, seeing as her giving spree only started in 2020.

GIVING METHODOLOGY

He’s big on pledges, with about $13 billion committed to various philanthropies, but he hasn’t officially donated much of that yet.

GIVING METHODOLOGY

Unsolicited gifts with no strings attached, so nonprofits can spend the money however they want. Might be worth checking your e-mail’s junk folder, as Scott’s unexpected donations have been known to end up there.

CAUSES

The environment, homelessness and space. He donated $100 million to chef José Andrés for his World Kitchen Foundation last year.

Chef Jose Andres

Evan Agostini/AP

CAUSES

Racial equity, LGBTQ+ causes and education. She’s also donated to YMCA chapters and Goodwill locations across the country.

YMCA

Kirby Lee/AP

POST-DIVORCE…

He continued his alleged affair with helicopter pilot and television host Lauren Sánchez. A recent Instagram post shows them on a yacht in St. Barts, with Bezos wearing a patterned shirt and heart-shaped sunglasses, drawing comparisons to rapper Pitbull.

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez

Richard Shotwell/AP

POST-DIVORCE…

She got married last year to Dan Jewett, a science teacher at the school her and Bezos’s children attend.

MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett

Supplied

WILL THEY GIVE ALL OF THEIR WEALTH AWAY?

Unclear. Bezos has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, which promises that signees will donate the majority of their wealth during their lifetimes or in their wills.

WILL THEY GIVE ALL OF THEIR WEALTH AWAY?

Seems so. She has signed the Giving Pledge and thus far is making good on it.

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