Thursday 19 September 2019

MacKenzie Bezos to give away half her $35bn

Former couple: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos last year before they split up. Photo: Evan Agostini
Former couple: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos last year before they split up. Photo: Evan Agostini

Ben Riley-Smith and Hannah Boland

This year MacKenzie Bezos became one of the world's richest women through divorce, getting $35.6bn (€31.9bn) of her husband Jeff's Amazon fortune.

Yesterday, she announced half of it would be given away.

Her decision to join the Giving Pledge, a scheme that gets millionaires and billionaires to donate 50pc of their money to charitable causes, was widely hailed after being announced yesterday. Yet it has also cast a new light on the decision by Mr Bezos, the world's richest man, not to adopt the pledge himself.

He is the only one of America's top five billionaires not on the list.

Ms Bezos, a 49-year-old novelist, explained her thinking in an open letter about the decision.

"We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand," she wrote.

"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."

Mr Bezos's own fortune, estimated at around $114bn according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, comes from the online retailer he founded and of which he remains chief executive. The 55-year-old also owns 'The Washington Post'.

The Bezoses announced their separation in January after the tabloid magazine 'National Enquirer' prepared to reveal a relationship between Mr Bezos and another woman.

The statement announcing the end of a 25-year marriage said the pair would remain "cherished friends".

A settlement a few months later suggested the split had been amicable.

Irish Independent

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