MacKenzie Bezos to donate more than half of her $37-billion fortune from divorce

Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills on March 2, 2108. The couple have since finalized their divorce and MacKenzie Bezos is pledging half her fortune to charity.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

MacKenzie Bezos has committed to giving away at least half of the $37-billion settlement she will receive in her upcoming divorce from Inc. founder Jeff Bezos.

She is one of 19 new signatories to the Giving Pledge who have promised to donate more than 50% of their wealth to philanthropic or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills, the organization of the same name said Tuesday. It was founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010 and now has 204 participants from 23 countries.

“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” said MacKenzie Bezos, 49. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”


Other new signatories include hedge fund titan Paul Tudor Jones, venture capitalist Chris Sacca and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. David Harding, the British billionaire who founded Winton Capital, also signed.

Fulfilling the requirements of the pledge can be tricky in a world where the wealthiest are accruing more riches than ever. Since 2010, Buffett has given away Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares worth more than $30 billion at the time of the donations. Still, his wealth is about 85% greater than at the time of his 2010 letter, thanks to Berkshire’s rising stock price.

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, hasn’t signed the pledge and has been criticized for his relatively restrained philanthropic efforts to date. In 2017, he tweeted an invitation for suggestions about how he can best use his wealth to help people “right now,” before announcing a $2-billion commitment to support education and anti-homelessness initiatives in September 2018.

He took to Twitter again Tuesday to praise his former spouse’s decision.

The pair announced they were divorcing in January. As part of the split, MacKenzie Bezos will receive a 4% stake in Amazon. Jeff Bezos will keep 12% as well as some other assets, including the Washington Post and space-exploration company Blue Origin.