AUBURN — Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine is listed among 384 organizations across the country that will benefit from more than $4 billion in donations from MacKenzie Scott, the author, philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Scott announced the donations via a blog post on Medium on Tuesday, with many of the recipients serving vulnerable populations that have been hit extra hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The list includes dozens of food banks, emergency relief funds and support services.

Listed among the recipients are three Maine nonprofits: Goodwill Industries of Maine, the Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises, and Good Shepherd, the largest hunger relief organization in the state.

Officials at Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine have not publicly announced the donation or disclosed the amount. Coastal Enterprises, a community development financial institution, announced Tuesday that it had received a pledge of $10 million from Scott.

Requests for comment from Good Shepherd were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

The Auburn-based food bank distributes millions of pounds of food to roughly 500 partner agencies serving all 16 counties in Maine. The partners include food pantries, meal sites, shelters, senior centers, and schools. In 2019, the food bank opened a second distribution center in Hampden.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 13.6% of Maine households are food insecure. The national average is 11.7%.

Scott’s wealth is estimated at $60 billion, a growth of some $24 billion since the start of the year. The increase is tied to Amazon, which has seen a 67% growth in shares this year.

In her announcement, Scott said she worked with a team of advisers to “accelerate” her charitable giving based on the impacts of the pandemic.

“They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital,” she said.

Other recipients, she said, are addressing “long-term systemic inequities that have been deepened by the crisis,” like credit and financial services for under-resourced communities, education for historically marginalized and underserved people, and civil rights groups.

Scott said her team looked at 6,490 organizations, and undertook deeper research into 822, ultimately putting 438 “on hold for now due to insufficient evidence of impact, unproven management teams, or to allow for further inquiry about specific issues such as treatment of community members or employees.”

Last year, Scott signed on to the Giving Pledge, a campaign founded by Warren Buffett, that encourages billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth during their lifetime. Others who have made the pledge include Bill and Melinda Gates, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg.

Bezos, with an estimated wealth of $184 billion, has not signed on.

Scott and Bezos divorced in April after 25 years of marriage.

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