When it was revealed that MacKenzie Bezos was divorcing the world’s richest man, her split with Jeff Bezos made international headlines for a billion reasons.
There was a lot of speculation about the circumstances behind the break up, about what MacKenzie would do next, and above all, how much money she would get in the divorce. Jeff and MacKenzie had never signed a prenuptial agreement when they were wed back in 1993.
The more important question all along was actually: what would she do with the money she got?
MacKenzie has promised to give at least half of her fortune to charity by signing the Giving Pledge, where wealthy people can dedicate a majority of their wealth to charity, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.
As MacKenzie’s personal wealth is now estimated at $36.6 billion, this is no small chunk of change. “I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” she said in a statement announcing the decision.
“My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty,” she said in the letter.
Her ex-husband applauded this move, Tweeting: “MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her. Her letter is so beautiful. Go get ’em Mackenzie.”
This isn’t the beginning of MacKenzie’s philanthropic work, however; she founded an anti-bullying charity called Bystander Revolution in 2014 in addition to raising her four children with her ex-husband.
We can only hope Bezos is inspired by his ex-wife’s generosity in turn. Giving Pledge was started by his fellow billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, and so far 204 individuals and families have signed up.
The reality of our world today is that wealth is power– luckily that includes the power to make a difference. It’s so wonderful to see something beautiful coming out of this breakup.