MacKenzie Bezos, the former wife of Amazon.com Inc. chief executive Jeff Bezos, pledged on Tuesday to give half of her US$36-billion fortune to charity, following a movement founded by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
Ms. Bezos, whose former husband is the world’s richest man, was one of 19 people on Tuesday to join the “Giving Pledge,” a campaign announced in 2010 by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Mr. Buffett and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates. It calls for the superrich to give away more than half their fortunes during their lifetimes or in their wills.
“In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” Ms. Bezos said in a statement dated Saturday. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care.”
Ms. Bezos became the world’s third-richest woman, according to Forbes Magazine, acquiring a 4-per-cent stake in Amazon worth about US$36-billion when she and Mr. Bezos announced their divorce settlement on April 4.
Mr. Bezos, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes at US$131-billion this year, was quick to support his ex-wife’s new philanthropic endeavour.
“MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her,” he said on Twitter. “Her letter is so beautiful. Go get ‘em MacKenzie.”
Mr. Bezos, who tops the Forbes list of world billionaires, is not among the 204 wealthy Giving Pledge signatories from 23 countries who come from a wide range of fields, including finance, technology, health care and real estate development.
Other Forbes top 10 billionaires who have not joined the “Giving Pledge” are Bernard Arnault, head of French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH; Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim; European fashion-retail mogul Amancio Ortega and Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page.
The pledge that signatories make is “a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract,” the campaign said on its website.