Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Scott team up to give $40 million to support women… Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott, former wives to two of the world’s richest men- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have teamed up to give $40 million to help in advancing the power and influence of American women over the next decade.
Melinda Gates and Scott, who were formerly married to Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, respectively, have become powerful philanthropists in their own rights. Both women, who are among the richest people in the world, have signed The Giving Pledge, promising to give away the majority of their wealth in their lifetimes.
The surprising donation from the women will be awarded to four winners of the ”Equality Can’t Wait Challenge”, a competition hosted by Melinda Gates’ investment firm Pivotal Ventures, with financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies.
The challenge calls itself “the first competition centered on gender and equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and … an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders.”
The four contest winners which were chosen from among 550 applicants proposed various creative ways to empower and improve the lives of women in the United States. They include establishing publicly supported infrastructure for childcare and other forms of caregiving; creating training for women interested in software development careers; accelerating young women’s trajectories through college and their early careers; and growing “impactful businesses owned by Native womxn.”
Each of the winners will receive $10 million for their projects.
“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 said in a statement.
Meinda 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.”
Melinda Gates remains co-chair of The Gates Foundation, In May, she filled for divorce from Bill Gates, whose current net worth stands at about $151 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Scott, whose net worth is estimated to be around $64 billion after receiving a quarter of Bezos’ Amazon shares in the couple’s divorce settlement last year said last month that she has already donated nearly $1.7 billion of her fortune to 116 organizations focused on one of nine “areas of need,” including racial equity, LGBTQ+ equity, functional democracy and climate change.