When MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos split, she received a billion dollar settlement and a stake in Amazon. Now, MacKenzie has revealed that she will be donating half of her fortune to charity.
When Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their separation in January 2019, some 25 years after they were first married, certain media outlets had dollar signs in their eyes.
The tabloids tripped over themselves to count the beans, wondering just how greatly, MacKenzie was going to take Jeff ‘to the cleaners’. The reality, as we pointed out on Stylist, was that no one was taking anyone to the cleaners, and no one’s fortune was being gutted. Instead, their divorce settlement was a fair and adequate division of assets acquired over the course of a long marriage that lasted 25 years, during which time both parties were involved in the creation, launch and continuing success of Jeff’s company Amazon.
That settlement, which went through earlier this year, ended up amounting to around $35 billion for MacKenzie, courtesy of a 4% stake in Amazon. (Jeff, for the record, is still worth $131 billion. No cleaners, see?) And today, MacKenzie announced that she would be donating half of her fortune to charity as part of the Giving Pledge founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, a movement that calls on the world’s richest people to devote their wealth to philanthropy.
“We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand,” MacKenzie said in a statement. “In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”
She continued: “But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
MacKenzie, who is a bestselling author, also likened philanthropy to writing. “I once read about writing, something about not saving our best ideas for later chapters, about using them for now,” she said. The same is true of charity work. MacKenzie quoted Annie Dillard, who wrote: “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book.” MacKenzie won’t be doing that with her $37 billion settlement. She’ll be using it to make real change in the world.
Jeff shared MacKenzie’s pledge on Twitter, saying: “MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her. Her letter is so beautiful. Go get ‘em MacKenzie.” (Jeff’s
By joining the Giving Pledge, MacKenzie just became one of the world’s biggest philanthropists, alongside Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. All of these names, as well as Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner and Sir Richard Branson are signatories of the Giving Pledge.
Some names who haven’t signed the Giving Pledge? Google co-founder Larry Page and LVMH’s chief Bernard Arnault. And Jeff Bezos.