Fact Check

MacKenzie Scott Has Given Away $16B and Pledged To 'Keep at It Until the Safe Is Empty'?

Jeff Bezos's ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, walked away with a 4% stake in Amazon after their divorce.

Published March 11, 2024

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As of March 2024, MacKenzie Scott had given away $16.5 billion and said she planned to "keep at it until the safe is empty."

Viral posts on X claimed on March 6, 2024, that MacKenzie Scott, the woman who divorced billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019, plans to give away all her money. One example read:

MacKenzie Scott plans to give away all her money. So far she's given away $16.5 billion. She's even giving away money to nonprofits that aren't asking for money. "I'm not stopping until the safe is empty"

The above post, which garnered 23.6 million views and 88,000 likes, was shared widely by other users. We encountered a similar post on Instagram, which had gained more than 84,000 likes and 17,000 comments at the time of this writing: 

In short, Scott has documented her donations of billions of dollars and promised to continue giving away money, so we rate this claim as "True."

Scott's Pledge

After 26 years of marriage to Bezos, Scott walked away with a 4% stake in Amazon, which was then worth about $37 billion (according to Forbes, she had a net worth of $35 billion as of this writing). As soon as 2020, she began to donate money to a growing list of nonprofit groups. According to her fund's website, she had completed gifts adding up to more than $16.5 billion to 1,964 groups at the time we reported this.

Scott has endeavored to be transparent about her philanthropic efforts. Besides shedding light on the process for awarding money to organizations, Scott wrote a series of blog posts explaining her thinking. On May 25, 2019, less than two months after her divorce from Bezos was announced, she wrote on the website of The Giving Pledge (emphasis added):

We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. 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.

She reiterated that pledge in July 2020, in a long post on Medium:

Last year I pledged to give the majority of my wealth back to the society that helped generate it, to do it thoughtfully, to get started soon, and to keep at it until the safe is empty. There's no question in my mind that anyone's personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.

In this post, she also listed the causes to which she had donated money in the months prior. Topping that list were the following causes (by donation amounts):

  • Racial equity.
  • Economic mobility.
  • Gender equity.
  • Global development.
  • Public health.

She published a more recent giving update on Dec. 6, 2023.

'The AWFL Fund'

One of X's users who quoted the post above added this comment:

Who is Bezos' ex giving money to?

According to her fund's website, over half of the orgs to which she's donated so far deal with issues of race and/or gender.

Her fund ought to be called The AWFL Fund. It's the ultimate aspirational expression of the most awful group in the US.

This is the post that drew the attention and the ire of Tesla and X owner Elon Musk. "'Super rich ex-wives who hate their former spouse' should be listed among 'Reasons that Western Civilization died,'" Musk replied in a now-deleted, but widely reported, tweet:


'MacKenzie Scott'. Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/profile/mackenzie-scott/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

'MacKenzie Scott - The Giving Pledge'. Giving Pledge, https://givingpledge.org/pledger?pledgerId=393. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

'Mackenzie Scott'. Yield Giving, https://yieldgiving.com/essays/giving-update. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

Tan, Kwan Wei Kevin. 'Elon Musk Is Lashing out at MacKenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos' Ex, for Donating Billions to Charities for Women and Minorities'. Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-goes-after-jeff-bezos-ex-wife-mackenzie-scott-2024-3. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

'Yield Giving'. Yield Giving, https://yieldgiving.com/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2024.

Anna Rascouët-Paz is based in Brooklyn, fluent in numerous languages and specializes in science and economic topics.