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Bezos says charity is ‘really hard’ as Scott gives one other $2 billion


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told CNN on Monday that he plans to provide away the vast majority of his $119.5 billion fortune in his lifetime, saying that “it’s really hard” to provide away large sums of cash in effective ways.

The identical day, his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott published a Medium blog post, announcing that she’d given away nearly $2 billion during the last seven months.

Bezos, who’s the fourth-richest person on this planet in response to Forbes, is not the only billionaire with broad philanthropic plans. Greater than 230 others, including Scott, have signed the Giving Pledge, promising to do the identical with their wealth.

Notably, despite his claim earlier this week, Bezos hasn’t signed the Giving Pledge. A spokesperson for Bezos declined CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

Scott made that commitment in 2019, signing the Giving Pledge the identical yr the couple divorced and she or he received roughly $36 billion in Amazon shares. In her post on Monday, she noted her strategy: Give money to credible organizations, then step back and allow them to resolve what to do with the funds.

“I needn’t ask those I care about what to say to them, or what to do for them,” Scott, who has a net value of $28.2 billion, wrote. “I can share what I actually have with them to face behind them as they speak and act for themselves.”

A notable contrast

The contrast between Bezos and Scott exists beyond Monday’s statements. Last month, Forbes reported Scott had donated $12.8 billion in only over two years, while Bezos had donated $2.4 billion to philanthropic causes throughout his life.

Bezos’ reluctance to affix the pledge has been criticized. Meanwhile, Scott’s giving strategy, which spans greater than 1,500 organizations, is hailed by nonprofit and philanthropy experts.

“MacKenzie Scott is essentially the most exemplary philanthropist within the country now,” Benjamin Soskis, a senior research associate on the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, told CNBC Make It on Wednesday. “She has developed a model which is incredibly powerful and has gained more acclaim than any major mega-donor.”

It may be easier for Scott, who still held nearly 15 million Amazon shares firstly of 2022, to provide her fortune away.

Bezos, who stepped down as CEO in 2021, continues to be the lively chairman and owns just below 10% of Amazon, in response to Forbes. Freely giving his wealth could directly impact the worth of the corporate’s shares and reduce his influence over the corporate he founded.

This may be why Bezos has began slowly, including giving his fortune away to other philanthropists.

Last week, Bezos and his current partner Lauren Sanchez awarded Dolly Parton the Bezos Courage and Civility Award, which got here with $100 million to gift to charity and philanthropy groups of her selecting.

One other possibility: Bezos may very well be waiting for his fortune to extend in value before giving it away.

Last yr, Warren Buffett announced that he’d given $41 billion to 5 foundations over 16 annual contributions. If he’d waited longer, that cash might have been value $100 billion, he added.

“Would society ultimately have benefitted more if I had waited longer to distribute the shares?” Buffett wrote. “My first wife … favored freely giving large sums once we were young — when our net value was a tiny fraction of its eventual size. I held out for later … It was only after my wife’s death that I, at 75, stepped on the accelerator.”

Wealthy individuals earn more tax breaks by donating money earlier of their lives, some extent often raised by critics.

The concept of growing interest may also work each ways: For those who donate money to charity now, the funds can produce compounding returns and other advantages for nonprofits and other people they assist sooner.

Buffett and Bill Gates are the founding members of the Giving Pledge, which they launched in 2010. Other billionaires who’ve signed it include Melinda French Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.

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