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Billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, marries Seattle science teacher

MacKenzie Scott announces sizable donations
MacKenzie Scott announces sizable donations 01:23

MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist, author and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has married a Seattle science teacher. Dan Jewett made the announcement in a letter to the website of the nonprofit organization the Giving Pledge on Saturday.

Jewett said he never imagined he would be in a position to talk about giving away significant wealth during his lifetime in order to make a difference in other people's lives. He expressed gratitude "for the exceptional privilege it will be to partner in giving away assets with the potential to do so much good when shared."

Jewett has been a teacher for decades and most recently taught chemistry at the private Lakeside School, where Scott's children attended.

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San Jewett and MacKenzie Scott. The Giving Pledge

"And now, in a stroke of happy coincidence, I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know - and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others," Jewett wrote.

After donating $1.68 billion to 116 nonprofits, universities, community development groups and legal organizations last July, Scott asked a team of advisers to help her "accelerate" her 2020 giving with immediate help to those financially gutted by the pandemic.

Scott went on to donate a total of $5.7 billion in 2020 by asking community leaders to help identify 512 organizations for seven- and eight-figure gifts, including food banks, human-service organizations, and racial-justice charities.

She was listed as No. 2 among the 50 Americans who gave the most to charity last year, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual rankings.

Bezos topped the list by donating $10 billion to launch the Bezos Earth Fund.

Scott announced a flurry of charitable gifts in December in a post on Medium, writing that she was inspired by grassroots efforts to help people in need, such as community fridges and "impromptu person-to-person Venmo gifts." Scott said she started out by looking at 6,490 organizations, and then whittled down her list to 384 organizations that have a "high potential for impact." 

Many of those organizations, such as food banks, address basic needs, while others focus on what Scott called "long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis." Among the beneficiaries:

  • More than 40 Feeding America food banks, ranging from the Central California Food Bank to the Vermont Foodbank
  • More than 40 Goodwill affiliates, such Goodwill Hawaii and Goodwill of the Heartland
  • 30 member programs of Meals on Wheels, such as Meals on Wheels South Florida and Meals on Wheels Atlanta
  • Educational institutions including City University of New York's Lehman College and Morgan State University in Baltimore

"We shared each of our gift decisions with program leaders for the first time over the phone, and welcomed them to spend the funding on whatever they believe best serves their efforts," she wrote. "The responses from people who took the calls often included personal stories and tears."

Aimee Picchi contributed to this report.

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