MacKenzie Scott, a novelist and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced that she has made eight-figure donations to several historically Black colleges and universities. Scott was awarded 4 percent of Amazon shares in divorce proceedings. She is estimated to have a net worth of about $60 billion.
In a post announcing more than $1.7 billion in donations, Scott said that “life will never stop finding fresh ways to expose inequities in our systems; or waking us up to the fact that a civilization this imbalanced is not only unjust, but also unstable. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer. Opportunities that flowed from the mere chance of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or zip code may have yielded resources that can be powerful levers for change.”
Howard University reported that it had received $40 million, the largest gift from a single donor in the university’s history. Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University said that “we plan to immediately put this eight-figure gift to good use to support components of our 5-year strategic plan to help students graduate on time, retain our talented faculty, enhance our campus infrastructure and support academic innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Hampton University in Virginia reported a $30 million contribution, Tuskegee University in Alabama, Morehouse College in Atlanta, and Xavier University in New Orleans announced $20 million donations. Spelman College in Atlanta also received a major donation from Scott.
Scott also announced donations to organizations that promote African American higher education including the United Negro College Fund, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the Posse Foundation.