About eight years ago I picked up this novel called TRAPS, about four very different women whose lives intersect in a collision of fates—a security guard, an actress, a prostitute, and a recovering alcoholic. Anyone who’s read my novels STASH and CLEAN BREAK knows I have a thing for these disparate yet connected stories and lives.
I still remember how much I appreciated the novel—it was deft and felt real—even though it wasn’t widely known. I didn’t realize at the time that the author, MacKenzie Scott, was the then-wife of Amazon Emperor Jeff Bezos.
I’ve always had a spot inside me for that novel and the author, and now I think MacKenzie Scott might be one of my favorite people in the world. She just announced another round of philanthropy, this time giving $2.7 billion to 286 organizations.
She doesn’t have a foundation of her own, which would require detailed public filings and possibly a large paid staff. She has a small, highly analytical, and focused team that proactively identifies underrepresented organizations and people who are doing good work for underprivileged, suffering, and marginalized populations. Then she writes checks, no strings attached, intent on fulfilling her promise to give her fortune away until “the safe is empty.”
In 2020 alone, she gave away $5.8 billion.
She is one of the wealthiest women in the world, one of the most generous philanthropists ever, and doing more for more people than perhaps anyone else. I saw one commentator on a news story about her suggest a better way to use her wealth. The commentator’s name was ‘Davidicus.’ (I like that name. I might start using it.)
Back to MacKenzie Scott. She’s a private person who does not give many interviews, but she deserves much attention and praise, and I wish she were in the news every day. Maybe that would motivate other ultra-wealthy people, some of whom might be known for having a competitive nature, to try to one-up her in the philanthropy department. Imagine if she got that kind of chain reaction started.
You’re a good one, MacKenzie—and a talented novelist.