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Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife gives $4 billion to nonprofits, including Jacksonville organizations

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with ex-wife MacKenzie Scott
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with ex-wife MacKenzie Scott (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over the last four months, MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has donated more than $4 billion to nonprofit organizations around the country.

Among the 384 nonprofits to receive money from Scott were three organizations on the First Coast: First Coast YMCA, United Way of Northeast Florida and Goodwill Industries of North Florida.

“The First Coast YMCA is extremely thankful and humbled to be recognized by Ms. Scott for our organization’s work during the pandemic. We understand from Ms. Scott’s team that every organization receiving a gift was carefully researched and vetted for how they serve their community especially youth in under resourced neighborhoods, as well as how they responded to the pandemic,” wrote Eric K. Mann, president and CEO of the First Coast YMCA, in a statement.

Mann declined to disclose how much the organization received from Scott but added that the Board of Directors and senior leadership team plans to “ensure every dollar donated is used to strengthen our community and sustain our mission for generations to come.”

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In a blog post, Scott said the money went to organizations that are providing basic needs for those suffering during the pandemic, including food banks, emergency relief funds and support services.

“These 384 carefully selected teams 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 frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day,” wrote Scott, who is worth an estimated $55 billion.

Scott said her team looked at 6,490 organizations before deciding on the organizations that were chosen.

“We shared each of our gift decisions with program leaders for the first time over the phone, and welcomed them to spend the funding on whatever they believe best serves their efforts,” Scott wrote. “They were told that the entire commitment would be paid upfront and left unrestricted in order to provide them with maximum flexibility. The responses from people who took the calls often included personal stories and tears.”