Billionaire MacKenzie Scott donates $4M to local Meals On Wheels program

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos pose as they arrive at the headquarters of publisher Axel-Springer where he will receive the Axel Springer Award 2018 on April 24, 2018 in Berlin. (Photo by JORG CARSTENSEN/dpa/AFP via Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Billionaire novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $4 million to Meals on Wheels San Diego County, it was announced Tuesday, part of $4.2 billion she has donated in the last four months to 384 organizations.

“In such a critical moment when the seniors we serve rely on us for not only a hot meal, but a warm smile and a wellness check, Ms. Scott’s donation carries even deeper meaning,” said Brent Wakefield, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels San Diego County. “Her donation represents the second largest gift in our agency’s history and it comes at such a critical moment.

“Her announcement was a complete surprise and we are humbled that she believes in investing in us and in our future to sustain our agency’s critical work to continue delivering support to even more seniors in San Diego County.”

Meals on Wheels has delivered more than 20 million meals to seniors in San Diego County since it began locally in 1960. In 2019 alone, the nonprofit delivered 427,173 meals. Volunteers and employees have continued during the pandemic, following COVID-19 precautions to deliver thousands of meals this year, including Wakefield hand-delivering a turkey on Thanksgiving to World War II Navy veteran Ed Kruck.

“This exciting announcement has come right at the moment we are kicking off our strategic planning for the next few years,” said Antoinette Middleton, the nonprofit’s board president. “This gift will allow us to begin to solve the problems of the future in relation to food scarcity, senior isolation, and technology.”

Scott was the longtime spouse of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Their divorce settlement in 2019 made her one of the wealthiest people on the planet and she has an estimated worth of $68 billion. She has pledged to give away most of her wealth to charity over her lifetime.

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