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Melinda French Gates and McKenzie Scott team up to donate $ 40 million to support women

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The donation is attributed to Equality challenge winners can’t wait, a competition organized by French Gates investment firm Pivotal Ventures, with financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. The challenge billed itself as “the first gender and equality focused competition in the United States with an award of this magnitude and… an opportunity to invest and empower women leaders”.
The four contest winners, chosen from 550 applicants, came up with a variety of creative ways to empower and improve the lives of women and gender nonconforming people in the United States. They include the establishment of publicly funded infrastructure for childcare and other forms of care; create training for women interested in careers in software development; accelerate the trajectories of young women through college and their early career; and the growth of “high impact businesses owned by Aboriginal women”.
Many of these issues have become particularly important given the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women, which experts say has set gender equality back by years. Each winning organization will receive $ 10 million for its projects.

“The winners are strong teams working on the front lines and within communities to help women empower them in their lives and careers,” Scott said in a statement.

French Gates added: “We can break the patterns of history and advance gender equality, but we must commit to uplifting organizations, like those receiving awards today, that are ready to uplift them. women and girls. “

French Gates and Scott, who were previously married to Seattle-based tech founders Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, respectively, have become powerful philanthropists in their own right. The two women, who are among the richest people in the world, signed The pledge of donation, promising to donate the majority of their wealth during their lifetime.
French Gates remains co-chair of the Gates Foundation, which has dedicated significant funding to Covid-19 research and vaccination efforts over the past year and a half, among other initiatives. With Pivotal Ventures, French Gates supports women working in key industries, such as technology, women job applicants, and other endeavors. In May, she filed for divorce from Bill Gates, whose current net worth is around $ 151 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Scott said last month that she had already donated nearly $ 1.7 billion of her fortune to 116 organizations focused on one of nine “areas of need,” including racial equity, equity LGBTQ +, functional democracy and climate change. Among the organizations she has supported are the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Obama Foundation, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, RAINN and the European Climate Foundation.
Scott’s net worth is estimated to be around $ 64 billion, according to Bloomberg. She received a quarter of Bezos’ Amazon shares in the couple’s divorce settlement last year, giving her a 4% stake that was worth more than $ 35 billion at the time.

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