The holiday season has been in full swing for………….well, seems like forever with Christmas trees hitting the lots early (seemed like July) and online shopping causing a 5G connection to act like 2G. But, here we are. Only a couple days ’til Santa is scheduled to dive down chimneys world wide (subject to Covid-19 testing, air traffic control, masks, etc). But wait. Sure Santa can bring toys and games and dolls and, and, and, but there is a new Santa in town. MacKenzie Scott who is reported to be the world’s richest woman.
So who needs Santa when you have someone like MacKenzie giving away billions (yes billions) of her Amazon fortune? $6 billion this year so far. And, she certainly learned how to distribute efficiently from all her firsthand experience making Amazon the behemoth it is today with ex-hubby Jeff Bezos. Just like Santa hits rooftops and chimneys to distribute his gifts, MacKenzie distributes her gifts to relatively small local groups where it will do the most good. Example; she gave more than $4 billion to 384 groups, including around 60 Y.W.C.A. chapters. That’s a lot of chimneys.
Over just a few months MacKenzie has turned the world of philanthropy completely on its head. Rather than have fancy headquarters like other multi-billion dollar foundations (ie. the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) MacKenzie’s operation has no known address or even a website. She refers to a “team of advisers” rather than a large dedicated staff. Hmmmm! Sound like Amazon?
Focusing on distributing her money quickly and with less fanfare, she has pushed the limelight away from the giver and onto the nonprofits she is trying to help. These are the organizations and groups that hand out food and pay off medical debts that often fly beneath the radar of major foundations. To be blunt, the grass root groups that actually need it.
Ms. Clause (er, MacKenzie Scott) notes that she made “unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached.” Different, since most philanthropy requires onerous grant proposals, stressful site visits followed by reports on a variety of performance benchmarks that charities are required to meet to keep the money flowing. Ms. Scott-Clause (love that) further explains; “Not only are nonprofits chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fund-raising and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them.”
So it seems that even Santa can be disrupted. We all know he requires “paperwork requirements” on all his gifts (Uh, have you been naughty or nice?…..check the box). Maybe its time for Santa to turn it all over to MacKenzie Scott. Very nice Ms. Clause.