As most everyone knows by now, Mackenzie Scott is the ex-wife of billionaire Jeff Bezos. Her divorce settlement made her one of the richest people in the world. Since acquiring sole control of this fortune, she has given away billions of dollars to various organizations. Most are committed to civil rights, women’s issues, LGBT issues, and other worthy causes.

Other billionaire philanthropists, like Bill Gates, the Walton Family Foundation, the DeVos family, and others, are known for their tight control over their grantees. When they get a proposal, they expect that it will conform to their ideological preferences, and they help the grantee revise it the proposal until the grantee does precisely what the donor wants. In some cases, the philanthropist finds or even creates a group to execute their commands.

Mackenzie Scott doesn’t work that way. Her secretive organization researches groups doing admirable things and advises her to give them money. She does not want or accept proposals. She doesn’t tell grantees how to use the money she gives them. She trusts them.

As the graph in this article by Axios shows, she far outshines other billionaires (such as her ex-husband) in her generosity.

As an extensive article about her in the New York Times details, Mackenzie grew up in an affluent family and attended the elite Hotchkiss School. In her junior year, her father went bankrupt and her circumstances changed dramatically. She aspired to be a novelist. She went to Princeton on scholarship, where her mentor was the famed novelist Toni Morrison. She moved to New York City to write, took a job at a hedge fund to support herself, where she met Jeff Bezos. They married, and she helped him achieve his dream of creating the online company Amazon. After many years of marriage and four children, they divorced.

Her first big statement as a newly single woman came less than five months later on the website of the Giving Pledge, started by Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffett as a place where billionaires promised to give away at least half their wealth. Ms. Scott went further, promising to “keep at it until the safe is empty.”

The Giving Pledge is a public promise and little more. It has no donation schedules, no reporting requirements and no enforcement mechanisms. Still, it was a significant statement.

Nonprofits soon began receiving calls and emails about enormous grants from an anonymous donor, often the biggest donation in the group’s history or the equivalent of a full year’s budget. Some of those approaches were from staff at the influential nonprofit consultancy Bridgespan, others from representatives at Lost Horse. The chosen charities were told they could not announce the gifts until the donor did.

On July 28, 2020, Ms. Scott tweeted a link to a post on the website Medium, where she unveiled the scale of her ambition as a philanthropist. In the tweet, she added in a parenthetical: “(Note my Medium account is under my new last name — changed back to middle name I grew up with, after my grandfather Scott.)”

On Medium, she was writing in the language of equity and social justice, guiding philosophies for her giving. “Personal wealth is the product of collective effort,” she wrote, “and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others.”

She gave overwhelmingly to groups led by women, people of color, members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community or all three. The total amount of grants she was announcing came to $1.7 billion.

And that was just the beginning of her donations.

She doesn’t yet understand education issues. She has given to the very important, valuable Schott Foundation and to the Southern Education Foundation, both of which support public schools. But she also gave millions to the odious TNTP, founded by Michelle Rhee to undermine well-qualified and experienced teachers. She needs help.

I wish someone would tell her or her advisors about the Network for Public Education. We are the only mass organization (350,000 followers) fighting to protect America’s most democratic institution: its public schools, and we could surely use her support.

As a personal matter, I don’t think there should be any billionaires. I think Mackenzie Scott agrees. To the extent we have people with that kind of wealth, our tax system is broken. I would love to live in a society where there was no poverty and no billionaires and where everyone had the necessities of a decent life, with ample opportunities for their children to fulfill their dreams.