TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, says she has given away $4.1 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations as part of a giving pledge she announced last year, including Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
“We are incredibly thankful to receive a generous gift from Ms. Scott,” said Monique Van Pelt, the CEO of Second Harvest. “We appreciate the trust that has been placed in our organization and our partners to build solutions that will help end hunger in the Big Bend.”
By far, this is the largest gift Second Harvest has ever received, and it will be transformative for the food bank and the community at a time when food insecurity is soaring and projected to continue.
According to Scott’s announcement, gift recipient organizations were diligently and rigorously researched, then carefully selected from an initial list of 6,490 potential recipients to “identify organizations with high potential for impact” and those that are “driving change…with teams who have dedicated their lives to helping others.”
She wrote in a Medium post on Tuesday that the pandemic substantially increased the wealth of billionaires, while things have gotten worse for women, people of color, and those living in poverty.
The philanthropist and author says she asked a team of advisers to help her “accelerate” her 2020 giving with immediate help to those financially gutted by the pandemic. Using a data-driven approach, they identified organizations in communities with high food insecurity, racial inequity, and other factors.
“Some are filling basic needs: food banks, emergency relief funds, and support services for those most vulnerable,” Scott wrote. “Others are addressing long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis: debt relief, employment training, credit, and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, civil rights advocacy groups, and legal defense funds that take on institutional discrimination.”
The Seattle Times reports Scott announced her pandemic-era philanthropy in writing
In January, Second Harvest plans to share more specific details about the impact of this gift to the communities they serve.
Click here to learn more about which organizations benefited from Scott’s donations.