The Giving Pledge

MacKenzie Bezos Pledged To Give More Than Half Her $37 Billion Fortune To Charity

People will obviously disagree about how to deal with the world's massive wealth inequality. And it's definitely not a good idea to rely on the billionaires out there to simply give up the mountains of cash they're sitting on.

Still, it's certainly welcome when some of them do. MacKenzie Bezos is just the latest, and she has an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to give away.

In April, MacKenzie Bezos officially became one of the richest single women in the world; less than two months later, she's pledged to give more than half of that wealth away.

MacKenzie was involved in the largest divorce settlement in history as she split from her husband of 25 years, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

MacKenzie walked away from that divorce with about $37 billion, which made her the fourth richest woman on Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.

Make no mistake, MacKenzie earned her share of the Amazon empire.

Reddit | Geekkake

She and Jeff met while working together at a New York hedge fund in 1992. They were married in 1993, and in 1994, they moved to Seattle, with the idea for Amazon already swimming around Jeff's head.

She helped come up with the name and was the company's first accountant despite having a degree in English and being an aspiring novelist.

She wore many hats in the company's early days.

Getty Images | Sara Jaye

She drove book orders to the post office and handled the bank accounts and credit. It's hard to imagine an more supportive spouse for helping Jeff's dream become reality.

And it's pretty safe to say that without her, there might not be an Amazon.com.

However, all empires come at a cost.

Twitter | @JeffBezos

And while Amazon was taking over internet shopping, the pair were growing apart.

Jeff became the public face of the company, traveling far and wide, while MacKenzie was more low-key, staying largely out of the camera's glare, writing her fiction — she has two books out, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps — and raising their four kids.

Of course, their split wasn't just high profile because of the money involved.

There was also the matter of Jeff's affair with news anchor Lauren Sanchez, splashed across the pages of the National Enquirer and subsequent accusations of extortion over text messages and selfies between the pair.

It was the stuff tabloids dream of.

But MacKenzie seems to be making the most of her divorce so far.

The Giving Pledge

There aren't many details about what she's been doing since the end of her marriage, but in a decidedly high-profile move, MacKenzie signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that encourages the ultra-wealthy to "dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy."

To date, more than 200 people around the globe have signed The Giving Pledge, including Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg.

MacKenzie included a letter when signing The Giving Pledge that explained how she came to her decision.

Unsplash | Perry Grone

And it doesn't sound like it was a tough choice for her.

"I have no doubt that tremendous value comes when people act quickly on the impulse to give," she wrote. "No drive has more positive ripple effects than the desire to be of service. There are lots of resources each of us can pull from our safes to share with others — time, attention, knowledge, patience, creativity, talent, effort, humor, compassion."

And of course MacKenzie recognizes that she has far more resources than most, and that she's been lucky.

"We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. 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."

As some have noted, as huge a gift as tens of billions in philanthropy is, MacKenzie would still be in good shape financially.

Even if she gives away half of her $37 billion tomorrow, never mind with time and care, she would still have $18.5 billion.

Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein pointed out that she "would still have about $1 million to spend every single day for the rest of her life if she lives to be 100."

Still, Jeff took to Twitter to praise MacKenzie for her gesture.

Which was a nice gesture for an ex-husband, and notably opened him up to criticism as he did not say anything about signing The Giving Pledge himself.

Who knows, with the potential for being upstaged by his ex, maybe the world richest man will come around.