MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates give nearly $50million to promote gender equality

Billionaire tech exes Mackenzie Scott – formerly MacKenzie Bezos – and Melinda French Gates teamed up to donate nearly $50million to fund gender-equality projects. 

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos – who Forbes says is the richest person in the world at a value of over $200billion – has been criticized for years for not sharing his mega-wealth.   

The two philanthropists – along with the family foundation of billionaire Lynn Schusterman – awarded $10million each to four projects as part of the The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a funding competition launched in June 2020 with the goal of expanding women’s power and influence in the US. 

Two additional finalists were given $4million each for the projects, which were chosen from a pool of more than 500 proposals submitted from across the country.

Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates

MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott

Melinda French Gates (left) and MacKenzie Scott, along with along with the family foundation of billionaire Lynn Schusterman – awarded $10million each to four projects as part of the The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge and an additional $4million each to two finalists 

French Gates is going through a divorce with Bill Gates but they've had a long history of philanthropy and donations. They also started The Giving Pledge, which is a promise to give away at least half of their wealth

French Gates is going through a divorce with Bill Gates but they've had a long history of philanthropy and donations. They also started The Giving Pledge, which is a promise to give away at least half of their wealth

French Gates is going through a divorce with Bill Gates but they’ve had a long history of philanthropy and donations. They also started The Giving Pledge, which is a promise to give away at least half of their wealth

Mackenzie Scott, who divorced Jeff Bezos (left) in 2019, is one of the co-signers of the pledge and has donated billions already

Mackenzie Scott, who divorced Jeff Bezos (left) in 2019, is one of the co-signers of the pledge and has donated billions already

Mackenzie Scott, who divorced Jeff Bezos (left) in 2019, is one of the co-signers of the pledge and has donated billions already 

Scott, who divorced Bezos in 2019, and French Gates, who’s currently going through a divorce with Bill Gates, have a history of philanthropy and generous donations and signed The Giving Pledge, which was created by Bill and Melinda French Gates and is a promise to give away at least half of their wealth.   
Other cosigners include Steve and Jean Case; Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan; and Sara Blakely.

Scott has a net worth of $61billion, and French Gates has a net worth of $3.2billion, according to Forbes. 

In a Medium post in December, Scott revealed she had given away $4.1 billion in the previous four months to hundreds of organizations in a bid to help those financially gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She had previously donated $1.68billion to 116 nonprofits, universities, community development groups and legal organizations in July 2020 as part of The Giving Pledge. 

 Bezos has not signed The Giving Pledge to date and has given $1.5billion to charity – 0.7 percent of his wealth – according to a Tuesday report in Time magazine

Bezos, who went to space on July 19, has been criticized for years for not donating

Bezos, who went to space on July 19, has been criticized for years for not donating

Bezos, who went to space on July 19, has been criticized for years for not donating

In the same story, Time reported that Bezos spent $5.5billion to fly to space on July 19 and ended up richer after his wealth reportedly increased by $13billion the day before because of a bump in Amazon’s share price.   

Benjamin Soskis, who researches philanthropy for the Urban Institute, told Time magazine that Bezos’ philanthropy ‘is the weird tension between its scale and its strange lack of consequence.’

‘He’s committed a large amount of money. But it still feels very, very half-baked,’ Soskis said.  

The four winning projects ‘center on the voices of women who have been most impacted by gender inequity and focus on action’

 The four winning projects are: 

Building Women’s Equality through Strengthening the Care Infrastructure,’ a cross-movement coalition of organizations that will transform antiquated attitudes around caregiving as unpaid work to establish a publicly supported care infrastructure;

Ada Developers Academy’s ‘Changing the Face of Tech,’ which will expand their immersive training and internship program creating pathways for thousands of women and gender expansive people into impactful software development careers;

Girls Inc.’s ‘Project Accelerate,’ which will accelerate young women’s trajectories through college and career entry;

and ‘The Future is Indigenous Womxn,’ a project to support and scale impactful businesses owned by Native womxn.

Additionally, two finalists were awarded $4million each in supplemental funding from the Challenge ‘in recognition of their track records of building women’s economic and political power, and their potential to leverage their experience to positively impact the lives and influence of more women across the country.’

The two finalists are: 

FreeFrom’s ‘A Call to Action: Holding Society Accountable for Intimate Partner Violence,’ which will continue fostering an ecosystem of long-term services and public policies to support survivors of intimate partner violence 

and IGNITE’s ‘Training Next Gen Women to Flex Their Political Power,’ which will dramatically scale its impact-driven programs to train young women to flex their political power as voters, activists, policymakers, commissioners and candidates.

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