Where will MacKenzie Bezos's $18 billion end up?

Image: Elena Seibert

Divorce can be messy, and when your joint net worth is over $100 billion, it can be messier. After MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos announced their split in January, there was a lot of buzz surrounding how the couple would divvy up their shares of Amazon, which now add up to around 16 percent of the company.

When it was all said and done, MacKenzie collected $36 billion in the settlement. She's pledged to donate half of those bucks to charity as part of The Giving Pledge, a philanthropic oath created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, which encourages the world's wealthiest individuals to give back. Where all that dough will go, on the other hand, is yet unannounced.

Inspired by the prolific Twitter account @BezosInContext, we have a few ideas on how the general public can take that wad of cash off her hands. 

Sure, she could buy 18 tall caffè lattes from Starbucks for every person in the United States, a Tesla Model X for nearly one-third of Seattleites, or a lifetime supply of Space Needle tickets for every Washington state resident (that is, unless they want to visit more than 54 times). However, with this much moola, we think MacKenzie could do some serious good:

1. MacKenzie's money could help 360,000 trans women pay for gender-confirming surgery. While there are a lot of social and political hurdles for folks hoping to transition, the financial burden of reassignment procedures is particularly detrimental, with surgery costing upwards of $75,000 for trans men, and $50,000 for trans women.

2. Based on average rent prices for Seattle apartments, she could theoretically pay every single Seattleite’s rent for a year. That means a lot more secure housing, a lot less calling mom and dad to ask for rent money, and a lot more meals that aren’t ramen noodles.

3. She could buy 31 solar panels for every McDonald’s in the world (if they would fit, that is).

4. The Anti-Defamation League could spend 784 times more than it did last year with MacKenzie's settlement money. And considering that the organization was able to train 14,000 law enforcement officers and reach 1.6 million kids through its No Place for Hate program in a year, all that Amazon coinage could fund extensive anti-bias education and research.

5. She could multiply the City of Seattle’s operating budget for Education and Early Learning by 173. (Or the Fix It First budget by 451. Or the Immigrant and Refugee Affairs budget by 3,557.) Durkan better start making some calls.

6. MacKenzie's money could pay tuition for 1,606,139 University of Washington students for a year. Or, she could pay for every current UW student’s tuition for four years…eight times. Say goodbye, student debt.

7. And last, but not least? Every Amazon worker could get a $29,349 bonus. Or, if we're trying to be sustainable, they could be given a raise of $2,445 (and 75 cents!) a month.

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