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In Latest Round of Giving by MacKenzie Scott, 'No Dollar Signs'

Billionaire philanthropist won't say how much she gave away this time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 9, 2021 1:40 AM CST
Updated Dec 9, 2021 7:03 AM CST
'No Dollar Signs This Time,' Says MacKenzie Scott
In this March 4, 2018, file photo, then-MacKenzie Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – In a blog post titled “No Dollar Signs This Time,” billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott said she won’t reveal how much she has given to charity since her last round of donations earlier this year, in an effort to reduce the attention she draws, the AP reports. Instead, she wrote a reflection on what philanthropy means. “I’m not including here any amounts of money I’ve donated since my prior posts," Scott wrote in the post Wednesday. “I want to let each of these incredible teams speak for themselves first if they choose to, with the hope that when they do, media focuses on their contributions instead of mine.”

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Scott's post intentionally offered few details on her giving. “Even by the traditional yardstick—money—contributions to the welfare of others by financially wealthy people don’t merit disproportionate attention,” she wrote. The reclusive novelist, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes at $59 billion, had expressed similar sentiments in her last post in June when she announced that she gave $2.7 billion to charity. She remains a private person and doesn't make public comments about her giving—or anything else—aside from what she writes on her Medium blog posts. But her latest comments are likely going to increase calls for more transparency about her giving style.

Scott is advised by the nonprofit consulting giant The Bridgespan Group, but little is known about how she selects groups to fund apart from the little she puts on her blog posts every few months. And this time, the public also doesn't know how much she's giving away or who she's giving it to. Ben Soskis, a historian of philanthropy and a senior researcher at the Urban Institute, said her approach of trying to focus on the grantee is admirable, but it “also undermines the public’s right to hold the wealthiest among us to account in terms of where they’re giving away money.” Though Scott hasn't named any recipients, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Public Allies said it received a $10 million gift from her and her husband, Dan Jewett, in September. The educational nonprofit Global Citizen Year also announced a $12 million gift from Scott in October. (Read more MacKenzie Scott stories.)

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