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Donations from billionaires: Charity or tax avoidance?
There is news that we are used to seeing frequently in the headlines, but which manages to attract our attention every time: 'Philanthropist billionaire pledges to donate most of his fortune.'
Mackenzie Scott, one of the actors in one of the most expensive divorces in history in 2019, is at the forefront of this news. Scott, who played an important role in the founding of Amazon with her ex-husband Jeff Bezos, is already among the richest women in the world with Amazon shares, of which she owns 4% as part of the divorce settlement, and a fortune of $21.2 billion. What saves Scott from being referred to as 'Jeff Bezos' ex-wife' in the headlines and keeps her in the public eye despite not giving any interviews is the donations she has made in the last three years...
Most recently, on 15 December 2022, Scott launched a website called 'Yield Giving', detailing the more than $14 billion in donations she has made to more than 1,600 organisations to date, and announced that she would launch an open call process for charities to request funds. For some, this step taken in the name of transparency was an important development in terms of setting a precedent; however, the scepticism that arises when it comes to billionaires has once again surfaced: 'There are more philanthropists today than ever before. How is it that inequality continues to grow? Are billionaires' donations charity or a way to avoid taxes?'