PHILADELPHIA — Who is MacKenzie Scott? She married Jeff Bezos in 1993, and together they co-founded Amazon in 1994 after leaving the investment firm D.E. Shaw. She divorced Bezos in 2019, and had previously given at least $49 million to Philly-area non-profit organizations.
After her divorce, MacKenzie Scott immediately vaulted into Forbes’ list of wealthiest billionaires. She remains the third-largest shareholder in Amazon after Bezos and Vanguard.
In 2019, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative started by U.S. billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to donate the majority of their wealth during their lifetime. Other billionaires signed the pledge as well —although Jeff Bezos is not one of them. A full list of signatories is available on the group’s website.
Scott saw her wealth increase from $19.5 billion to $55.5 billion over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — even after giving away $8.6 billion to charity. That’s according to the most recent data released in October 2021 by Americans for Tax Fairness.
In 2021, Scott remarried, to Seattle science teacher Dan Jewett, and together they formed a foundation to continue philanthropy.
Jewett, who used to be a teacher at Harriton High School in Lower Merion, Pa., also signed the Giving Pledge in a letter and said he never imagined being able to give away “significant wealth” in order to make a difference in other people’s lives. Jewett most recently taught chemistry at the private Lakeside School in Seattle, which Scott’s children attended.
Scott has given at least $8 billion in the last two years to mostly small nonprofits that serve people in need.