Three Cheers for McKenzie Bezos
Updated: Mar 22
Once in a while, injustice gets a kick in the pants. Sometimes you can see it about to happen. Life is difficult and cruel at times with significant struggles, like a movie where you see a ship fighting to stay afloat in a storm. Once you see the ship is about to be righted, it is a beautiful thing.
When I heard that Jeff Bezos and wife McKenzie Bezos were divorcing and she will be getting half the wealth they built as a married couple, I began to look forward to seeing what she will do with her billions. I was expecting generosity. I have a feeling that others are with me in this hopeful anticipation. Ms. Bezos will not be disappointing us.
According to the BBC, Ms. Bezos has announced that she will be donating HALF of her fortune. That is a pledge of $16.5 billion in today’s dollars. She has joined the “Giving Pledge” which calls for the richest in the world to give away half or more of their wealth. It is notable that Giving Pledge was started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. By contrast, her ex-husband Jeff Bezos is not a signatory to the organization. In fairness, it should be noted that he donated $2 billion to a charitable fund he established to help the homeless and set up a network of preschools. But you see here, $2 billion is paltry compared to $16.5 billion. Another comparison is that his donation is around 1% of his net worth while hers will be 50%.
Perhaps most remarkable is the humble and careful attitude Ms. Bezos displays. The BBC quoted her as saying, “In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” she said in a statement. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”
Admittedly, Ms. Bezos hasn’t physically transferred funds as of the writing of this blog piece, however the pledge and attitude are spectacular. The funds she has pledged to donate will make a significant impact, so I hope she starts soon. Ms. Bezos will be helping to right the ship by joining others in setting a new course of generosity. I look forward to seeing what happens.