After a quarter of a century of marriage, founder and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie have divorced. Currently holding the titles of the richest man and third richest woman in the world, the two have agreed to an amicable split. They plan to continue to not only parent their 4 children together but remain business partners as well, each holding stock in Amazon. While the situation is not one to be taken lightly, Mackenzie has made it her mantra to use her 25% stake worth in Amazon to continue to give back. She has since signed the Giving Pledge – an international agreement signed by over 200 of the world’s richest who have vowed to donate over half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
An experienced philanthropist, Mackenzie Bezos carries with her a strong resume of charitable work and attributions. In 2013, Bezos started the Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying website aimed to educate youth on the effects of bullying as well as providing advice and an outlet to learn about ways to diminish the widespread issue. The organization accepts contributions from children all over the country to come up with different bullying scenarios and issues, and the resolutions to them. It also approaches the solutions from a parent or teachers point of view as well. Mackenzie has also devoted much of her time and funding into cancer research, Alzheimer’s Disease, marriage equality, and education for young immigrants.
The Giving Pledge, founded by Bill & Melinda Gates with longtime friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffet, was coined to inspire those with the financial means to do so to contribute to making the world a better place to live. The pledge gives philanthropists the freedom to choose the charitable organizations in which they will donate to, at their own discretion. The common goal of the group is to share ideas and organizations that can benefit directly from their contributions. The organization also orchestrates annual learning events in which the signatories can all convene together to discuss their philanthropic ventures.
While the Giving Pledge’s intent is to donate half of an individual or couples wealth, Mackenzie has taken it upon herself to promise to exceed this requirement. She believes that she has come across her wealth by luck, among other reasons, and that it is her duty to share her wealth with those who have not been given such opportunities for success. However, she does intend to take careful consideration into choosing the organizations that she will bestow this wealth to. She fully plans to continue her philanthropic dedication throughout her life until “the safe is empty” as she referenced from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life in her Giving Pledge Letter.