It was revealed that MacKenzie Bezos, the ex-wife of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, promised to donate half of her fortune to charity, joining billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the Giving Pledge. This pledge was started by Mr Buffett and Mr Gates whose premise is for the richest to give away half or more of their wealth.
Ms Bezos is estimated to be worth almost US$37B (£29B). The divorce between her and Jeff Bezos occurred earlier this year. She acquired 4% of the company in the settlement. “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.”
Thus far, the Giving Pledge has been signed by 204 individuals, couples and families from 23 countries. Among the signatories are Michael Bloomberg, former New York Mayor and currently 8th on the Forbes billionaire list, Ted Turner, CNN founder, and Barry Diller, entertainment executive.
From this year alone, pledges have come from Paul Tudor Jones, hedge fund billionaire, Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of GMO, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Musallam bin Ham Al Ameri, Emirati businessman.
This pledge serves as a public promise which says: “The goal is to talk about giving in an open way and create an atmosphere that can draw more people into philanthropy.”
Mr Bezos is currently not one of the signatories to the Giving Pledge, however, he did put $2B into a charitable fund he established to help the homeless and has also set up a network of schools. This move sparked controversy from some quarters where Mr Bezos was accused of underpaying his staff. He is estimated by Bloomberg to be worth US$114B.