Jan 26, 2021
In this episode we take a look at the philanthropic giving of MacKenzie Scott (former wife of Jeff Bezos), who has garnered a great deal of attention and praise for the scale, pace and approach of her philanthropy. We ask: what are the key aspects of received wisdom about giving that she is rejecting? And will this lead to wider changes in how big money philanthropy works in future? Including:
-Rejecting the myth of the "self-made billionaire", in favour of recognition that luck, privilege & reliance on wider society are always factors in wealth creation.
-Rejecting the Carnegian idea that "it's harder to give money away intelligently than earn it", and that if you're willing to cede power & give unrestricted grants it's actually eminently possible.
-Rejecting the idea that philanthropy needs to be done slowly, or that it should aim towards perpetuity.
-Rejecting the idea that grants need to be restricted or short-term.
-Rejecting the idea that the donor has all the answers or should set the agenda
-Rejecting the idea that being "strategic" means being top-down or technocratic.
-Rejecting the idea that we need to maintain distance between donor and grantee, or avoid human connection in philanthropy.
-Rejecting the idea that philanthropy by itself can ever be a solution to inequality.
-Rejecting the idea that philanthropy needs to be secretive or opaque.