The Girl Scouts said Tuesday that billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott gave $84.5 million to the group. The 52-year-old Scott, who used to be married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave the organization the largest single donation in its history, the organization said.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which ranks the 500 richest people in the world every day, says that Scott is the 41st richest person in the world with a net worth of $27.6 billion. After she and Bezos broke up in 2019, she said she would donate about half of her more than $35 billion fortune to charity.
The Girl Scouts of the USA and 29 local councils that Scott chose will get Scott’s gift, the group said in a news release.
The money will be used, among other things, to create “more equitable membership opportunities” in underserved areas, expand programming in career readiness and mental health, and look into STEM fields. It will also be used to improve research, staff, and volunteer training, and upgrade Girl Scout facilities to make them easier to get to and more resistant to climate change.
Sofia Chang, the first Asian-American CEO of the Girl Scouts, said that Scott’s gift is “a great boost to our ongoing efforts to help girls develop the skills and connections they need to lead in their own communities and around the world.”
The Girl Scouts have been around since 1912. Their website says that about 2.5 million members, including transgender girls, take part in troops, service projects, camps, and other events to learn leadership and other skills, such as coding, robotics, financial literacy, and computer science.
The organization says that its famous annual cookie sale, which sells nearly $800 million worth of cookies, is “the largest business run by girls in the world.”
Scott’s gift is at least her second record-breaking donation to an organization that mostly helps girls and women this year. In March, she gave $275 million to Planned Parenthood, a healthcare provider for women. The money went to the national office and 21 regional branches of the provider. Planned Parenthood said at the time that it was the biggest donation from a single person in its more than 100-year history.
In a Medium post from this year, Scott said that since June 2021, she had given more than $3.8 billion to 465 non-profit groups.
She married Bezos in 1993, and they have four children together. CNBC said that after they split up, she had about 4% of Amazon’s outstanding common stock. This made her the third-largest shareholder in the company.
Scott asked for a divorce from her second husband, former teacher Daniel Jewett, whom she married last year. The divorce was filed last month.
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