MacKenzie Scott Won’t Say How Much She’s Giving “This Time” | Economic news

By HALELUYA HADERO, AP Business Writer

In a blog post titled “No Dollar Signs This Time,” billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott said she would not reveal how much she had given to charity since her last round of donations earlier this year, in a bid to reduce the attention it attracts. Instead, she wrote a reflection on what philanthropy means.

“I am not including here amounts of money I have donated since my previous posts,” Scott wrote in the post on Wednesday. “I want to let each of these amazing teams speak for themselves first if they want to, with the hope that when they do, the media will focus on their contributions rather than mine.”

Scott’s post intentionally offered few details about his gifts. “Even by the traditional yardstick – money – contributions to the well-being of others by financially wealthy people do not deserve disproportionate attention,” she wrote.

The lone novelist, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes at $ 59 billion, expressed similar sentiments in her last post in June when she announced that she had donated $ 2.7 billion to charity. She remains a private person and doesn’t comment publicly on her donations – or anything else – other than what she writes on her Medium blog posts.

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But his latest comments are likely to increase calls for more transparency about his style of giving. Scott is advised by nonprofit consulting giant The Bridgespan Group, but little is known about how she selects which groups to fund other than what little she puts on her blog posts every few months. . And this time around, the public also doesn’t know how much she’s giving or who she’s giving it to.

“The effort to try to redefine who should get the most respect and attention as a donor is truly commendable,” said Ben Soskis, historian of philanthropy and senior researcher at the Urban Institute. “But it’s problematic and a sort of disavowal of any responsibility for transparency and accountability. This suggests that an answer to a discomfort with power is to try to deny it, in a sense.

Soskis said his approach of trying to focus on the beneficiary is admirable, but that it also “undermines the public’s right to hold the wealthiest among us to account for where they are. give money “.

Although Scott did not name any recipients, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Public Allies said she received a $ 10 million gift from her and her husband, Dan Jewett, in September.

Jaime Ernesto Uzeta, CEO of the organization, declined to discuss how the gift was given, saying they agreed with Scott’s team not to reveal much about the process. The organization, which aims to advance social justice, said it was the biggest gift it had ever received and that it would be dedicated to its race equity fundraising campaign.

The nonprofit Global Citizen Year educational year also announced a $ 12 million giveaway from Scott in October.

Scott’s last three rounds of contributions have totaled nearly $ 8.7 billion, with much of the money going to pandemic relief, colleges and universities, and organizations serving minority communities. After the police murder of George Floyd, it funded major recipients of racial equity donations in 27 states, according to an AP analysis of preliminary data from the philanthropy research organization Candid.

She previously linked her philanthropic motivation, in part, to her concerns about the concentration of vast wealth among a small group of individuals, writing in her latest blog post that she, along with her husband Dan Jewett, and a team of advisers “Were trying to donate a fortune that was made possible by systems in need of change.

Scott has promised to donate his wealth “until the safe is empty.” But thanks to the rise in Amazon’s stock price, it has only grown since she divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019 and walked away with a 4% stake in the company.

His stranded approach to giving is rare in the philanthropic world, where wealthy donors typically limit what charities can do with the money they give them. Scott doesn’t do this, and doesn’t demand that nonprofits report to him how they spent the money – a gold standard for giveaways. She can also bypass public reporting requirements because she donates as an individual, rather than through a foundation like many other wealthy donors.

Scott says in her article that she wants to broaden the definition of what is considered philanthropy and who is considered a philanthropist. “How much or how little money changes hands does not make it philanthropy,” she wrote. “Intention and effort make it philanthropy. If we recognize what all of this has in common, there will be more. “

Tyrone Freeman, a professor at Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, said Scott’s statement highlighted an ongoing debate about philanthropy.

“The emphasis on the size of financial giving and the limits of tax policy on the types of gifts that can be deducted has skewed our imaginations on what exactly a gift is, who gives them and how we actually give to others. every day, ”Freeman mentioned. “She emphasizes that anyone can give because philanthropy is not primarily about money and does not belong to the richest 1% – it belongs to all of us and is part of our common and collective human heritage. . “

The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropic coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

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