Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up for $40M donation

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The ex and soon-to-be ex of two of the richest men in the world are teaming up to give away $40 million to four organizations that promote gender equality.

Melinda French Gates, the estranged wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott announced the donation together.

The awardees were selected through the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, hosted by French Gates’ investment firm Pivotal Ventures and supported by Scott and her science teacher husband Dan Jewett.

Melinda Gates (left) and Mackenzie Bezos (right) team up to donate $40 million to four organizations to promote gender equality (Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Billionaire philanthropist Lynn Schusterman’s family foundation also supported the donation.

"The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers," Scott, who divorced Bezos in 2019 and quickly became the world’s richest woman, said in a statement. "And best of all, they’re not alone."

Scott has made a name for herself since her divorce from Bezos as being more charitable with her fortune than Bezos and other tech billionaires.

In June, Scott donated $2.7 billion to hundreds of organizations and in December, she gave away another $4.2 billion in donations.

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Scott has a net worth of almost $64 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bezos remains the wealthiest man in the world, according to Bloomberg.

The recipients of the latest donation were selected from a pool of more than 550 applicants. The winners are focused on various aspects of gender equality, including caregiving, tech and career development, higher education and minority communities.

"The overwhelming response to the challenge proves there’s no shortage of transformational ideas about how to accelerate progress for women and girls," French Gates added. "We can break the patterns of history and advance gender equality, but we must commit to lifting up organizations, like the ones receiving awards today, that are ready to lift up women and girls."

The Gateses shocked the world in May when they announced their divorce plans. Bill Gates is currently the fourth-wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of about $151 billion, according to Bloomberg’s index.

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And the mega-billionaire couple control one of the largest and most powerful charitable organizations in the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Organization.

It remains unclear exactly how the massive Microsoft fortune will be divvied up between the two.

French Gates’ most recent donation through her own investment firm could provide a path for her to continue with her philanthropic endeavors, but be separate from the $65 billion Gates Organization.

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Last month, Warren Buffett, a longtime trustee of the philanthropy, resigned from the organization as the messy divorce plays out.

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And earlier this month, the organization’s CEO Mark Suzman announced that French Gates agreed to quit the foundation in two years if the pair realizes they can no longer work together.

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