World's 18th richest person MacKenzie Scott announces $4.2bn in charity donations

Donations by former wife of Jeff Bezos were made to 384 organisations in just four months

FILE - In this March 4, 2018 file photo, then-MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. A donation from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to Virginia State University has become the largest single donor gift in the historically Black college’s history. The $30 million donation by Scott was announced Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in a post that detailed the nearly $4.2 billion in gifts given to nonprofit organizations by the philanthropist in 2020. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, said on Tuesday she has given $4.2 billion to groups helping the vulnerable as the pandemic hits lives like "a wrecking ball."

Ms Scott, who formerly went by the name MacKenzie Bezos, last year signed a "giving pledge" to donate the bulk of her wealth to charity.

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They have dedicated their lives to helping others

In a round of donations early this year, Ms Scott gave nearly $1.7 billion to groups devoted to race, gender and economic equality, as well as other social causes.

"This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling," Ms Scott said in a post detailing her second round of giving this year.

"Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of colour, and for people living in poverty."

Meanwhile, she noted, the wealth of billionaires has substantially increased.

Such billionaires include her ex-husband, although Ms Scott did not mention his name. Mr Bezos's wealth has reportedly grown almost 80 per cent during the pandemic.

Ms Scott said she enlisted a team of advisers that helped identify 384 organisations across the US that support people suffering from the economic toll of the pandemic.

Special attention was given to organisations working to combat hunger, poverty and racial inequity in communities, according to Ms Scott.

Targets for support included food banks, employment training services, legal defence funds, debt relief programmes and civil rights advocacy groups.

The groups that received donations "have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and front lines of all types and sizes, day after day after day," Ms Scott said.

Ms Scott became a multi-billionaire after her divorce last year from Mr Bezos.

She ranked 20th on a Forbes real-time list of the world's richest people index on Tuesday, with a net worth of $56 billion  after taking her latest donations into account.

Mr Bezos was at the top of that list with a net worth of $185 billion.

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