MacKenzie Bezos signs the philanthropic engagement that her ex-husband longed for

Less than two months after completing her divorce from the world's richest person, MacKenzie Bezos has indicated that she is going to be a far more generous philanthropist than her husband has ever been.

MacKenzie Bezos announced in a letter on Tuesday that she had signed Giving Pledge, a commitment to give half of her $ 35 billion in assets, or at least $ 17 billion, to charity over her lifetime or in her will. Despite criticism of being the world's richest man, but having donated only a small fraction of his wealth, Bezos & # 39; ex-husband, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has for many years refused to sign in.

MacKenzie's commitment to Giving Pledge comes as liberal accusing companies such as Amazon to be competitive and asks more than ever for CEOs to accumulate fortunes registering in tens of billions of dollars in For the first time, showing how Times have changed.

Eight years ago, Giving Pledge and its top ambassadors Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were heard as today's Andrew Carnegie and Jay Rockefeller, ahead of a new US movement billionaires to restore global philanthropy by encouraging past, larger and more public give. Since then, tech billionaires have basically begun playing defense on their philanthropic efforts ̵[ads1]1; especially since some see these gifts as public relations coverage for their capitalist accidents. And an excess catching, vague philanthropic engagement like the Giving Pledge is particularly prone to scrutiny because it's just a promise, with plenty of wiggle room and zero accountability.

This is especially true in Silicon Valley, where some rival groups to give the promise are increasingly traction, as Recode reported last month. While Giving Pledge can claim to be ultimately responsible for over $ 500 billion in commitments, other philanthropic efforts such as the Founders Pledge – focused on former technological entrepreneurs – and 1% promise – focus on corporate mission – are hoping to copy and disturb Giving Pledge, force it to compete for the minds of today's technological community.

Giving Pledge's representatives have told Recode that they felt it was good in technological communities, and the 18 new signatories it announced On Tuesday is a reminder of the mortgage's dominance. Access to MacKenzie during the signing of the pledge on Tuesday was Twilio founder Jeff Lawson and his wife Erica, venture capitalist Chris Sacca and his wife Chrystal, and Brian Acton, WhatsApp founder who now encourages people to delete Facebook after selling the company for $ 19 billion dollars, along with his wife Tegan.

These new additions give the total number of Giving Pledge signatures to over 200 people – which sounds like you realize that only about 7 percent of the world's billionaires are. Many of the world's richest people who call Silicon Valley at home, such as Sergey Brin or Larry Page, have not signed.

Jeff Bezos hasn't signed it either, even though he's not immune to pressure to become more philanthropic. After becoming the world's richest man in 2018, Bezos announced last year that he would commit $ 2 billion to early education and anti-homosexual programs. As Amazon faces high-level questions about his power and threats to public regulation, Bezos apparently discovered that he could no longer afford to completely ignore his critics.

And that's what makes MacKenzie Bezos' decision so revealing. The Bezos couple had nine years to sign the Giving Pledge and refused to do it again and again. But as soon as MacKenzie Bezos was responsible for her own personal wealth, she immediately signed the document. Obviously, it raises questions about whether she did not agree with her husband about their philanthropic strategy.

If she did, she didn't give a sign to it in her letter, announcing her plans, dated this day Saturday, May 25, just before the Giving Pledge annual retreat takes place this week. And yet she told me she stood by the idea of ​​charity that gives her ex-husband a long time: that you should not hurry.

"We come with each of the gifts we have to offer with an infinite series of influences and happiness breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to what assets life has nurtured me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share," MacKenzie says. Bezos in her letter. "My approach to philanthropy will continue to be well thought out. It will take time and effort and care. But I won't wait. And I will hold on to it until security is empty. "

The letter did not give much detail, so how MacKenzie Bezos, a novelist, will fulfill his philanthropic engagement, has not yet been seen. She has said as part of the divorce process that she and Jeff Bezos would continue their common philanthropic work on Homelessness and Early Education So far, she has focused most of her public attention on anti-bullying, which may be a major focus of her philanthropic work.

Now, as one of the world's richest women, she will be under the microscope. like Jeff Bezos, she has so far attempted to remain an individual, rarely weighing publicly on Amazon, despite her important early role at the company.

Their divorce, the most expensive divorce in the history of divorce, suddenly pushed MacKenzie Bezos into countless headlines, and her decision to sign the Giving Pledge, which, with its public character, was bound to attract attention and questions, is an indication that she – even as Jeff Bezos – is increasingly leaning into the limelight.

Recode and Vox have joined in to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing – and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.

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