Here Is The New Batch Of HBCUs Getting Jeff Bezos Divorce Money From MacKenzie Scott

Here Is The New Batch Of HBCUs Getting Jeff Bezos Divorce Money From MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott
Graduate students cheer as President Barack Obama delivers a commencement speech at the 2016 Howard University graduation ceremony in Washington, May 7, 2016. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

MacKenzie Scott, a novelist, anti-bullying organizer and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced a new batch of charitable gifts worth about $4.2 billion to 384 organizations, including at least 17 historically Black colleges and universities.

More than 30 colleges or universities are among the recipients, including Prairie View A&M University, an HBCU in Texas, which received $50 million — the largest-ever gift in the college’s history. Other HBCUs reported receiving record-breaking gifts from Scott in the tens of millions: Morgan State University, in Baltimore, reported a gift of $40 million; Winston-Salem State University, in North Carolina, reported a gift of $30 million; and Delaware State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore reported gifts of $20 million each, InsideHigherEd reported.

Here’s a list of HBCUs that received gifts from Scott as part of her $4.1 billion giveaway, courtesy of HBCU Connect:

Alcorn State University – $25M
Bowie State University – $25M
Claflin University – $20M
Clark Atlanta University – $15M
Delaware State University – $20M
Dillard University – $5M
Elizabeth City State University – $15M
Lincoln University – Pennsylvania – $20M
Morgan State University – $40M
Norfolk State University – $40M
North Carolina A&T State University – $45M
Prairie View A&M University – $50M
Tougaloo College – unknown
University of Maryland at Eastern Shore – unknown
Virginia State University – $30M
Voorhees College – unknown
Winston-Salem State University – $30M

For Morgan State, the $40 million gift is “transformative” — the largest single private donation in its history and the second-largest gift to any public Maryland university. The previous largest individual gift was $5 million from philanthropist and Morgan alumnus Calvin E. Tyler Jr. and his wife Tina.

“This monumental gift will change lives and shape futures,” President David Wilson said in a news release. “The unrestricted funds will be used to support university efforts essential to student success as well as to advance research and investments in other mission-focused priorities and initiatives.”

Scott’s latest $4.2-billion round of gift-giving is an addition to almost $1.7 billion of donations she announced earlier this year. In July, Scott announced gifts to more than 100 nonprofits — mainly those that addressed issues of racial justice, sexual identity, and social equality. At least six HBCUs were among the recipients, including Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Tuskegee University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

When Scott and Bezos divorced, she received billions of dollars as part of her 2019 settlement. Scott’s net worth of $36 billion grew over the past year to $50.8 billion as Amazon stock continued its meteoric rise during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Forbes.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

The couple was married 25 years. As part of the divorce settlement, Bezos transferred 25 percent of his Amazon stake — 4 percent of the company — to Scott. She has promised to give away half or more of her assets in her lifetime or in her will. 

In a Dec. 15, 2020 Medium post, Scott listed all the most recent organizations to receive gifts. “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling,” she wrote. “Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.

“Though I’m far from completing my pledge, this year of giving began with exposure to leaders from historically marginalized groups fighting inequities, and ended with exposure to thousands of organizations working to alleviate suffering for those hardest hit by the pandemic.”

 Amazon’s shares have jumped 67 percent this year as consumers inreasingly turned to online shopping during the pandemic.

Anand Giridharadas, the publisher of The Ink, talked about Amazon’s workers in a Twitter response to news reports of Scott’s gift:

“@mackenziescott may be making the best of a bad situation. But let’s be clear. Much of the money she is donating should have been paid as wages and taxes. So it is Amazon workers and U.S. taxpayers, in a sense, who are funding these causes,” Giridharadas tweeted. “Accordingly, I’d propose that any naming rights associated with these gifts to HBCUs, any plaques and signs, be given to Black workers at Amazon who would have had this money instead of her in a fairer world. Especially Black workers who tried in vain to organize and unionize.”