told The New York Times last year. “There’s just none.”

Matthew Goldstein contributed reporting.

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The Separate Worlds of Bill and Melinda Gates

“It was a constant tension point of the foundation. It was Warren who limited it, but Bill’s appetite is always, ‘We should do this, we should do this.’ Teams end up with this massive to-do list,” the former executive said.

Mr. Buffett acknowledged in an interview with The Times last year that he opposed institutional bloat. “That’s the one piece of advice I don’t shut up on, ever, because it’s the natural tendency of every organization,” he said.

Employees at the foundation often have to wear multiple hats to keep up with the demands. For instance, one staff member, Anita Zaidi, serves in the highly technical role of director of vaccine development and surveillance but also serves as president for gender equality.

Mr. Gates famously gave a TED Talk in 2015 warning about the global threat posed by contagious respiratory viruses. The foundation was packed with top talent working on developing new vaccines. It did not, however, have a single person out of roughly 1,600 staff members devoted full time to pandemics before the Covid-19 outbreak began.

For all the workarounds with contract employees and consultants, there was only so much bandwidth, and the decision was made not to have a dedicated team working on the matter. Instead the foundation threw its weight behind the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which helped develop vaccines to combat outbreaks.

When the pandemic struck, the foundation put its resources and expertise to work. It has dedicated $1.75 billion to combating the pandemic so far and played a key role in shaping the global response.

Even without the divorce, the foundation was in the midst of change. Mr. Buffett, the third trustee, turns 91 this summer. Mr. Gates’s father, Bill Gates Sr., who was co-chair and a guiding hand at the foundation, died this past September. Some observers have wondered if the couple’s three children could get involved soon. The elder two are already in college and medical school. Others have raised the possibility that this is the moment to loosen the family’s grip and install a board drawn from professionals outside the inner circle.

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MacKenzie Scott Gave Away Billions. The Scam Artists Followed.

Even people with Ms. Scott’s resources can’t prevent swindlers from using their names. Scammers have copied the webpage of the federal Small Business Administration and impersonated the Federal Trade Commission, one of the agencies trying to combat exactly these sorts of cons.

Ms. Scott gives to institutions — universities, food banks, other frontline charities — not individuals. She has no accounts on social media like Facebook and Instagram, only her Medium page and a verified Twitter account with just three tweets. Her organization would never request fees upfront from grant recipients, a person with knowledge of her giving said. The person declined to comment directly on online deception taking place in Ms. Scott’s name or what actions she might take to help prevent it.

Ms. Churchill did more research and realized it was highly unlikely that Ms. Scott had been in touch with her directly, but still she could not cut herself off from the scammers right away. She had invested everything she could pull together in unlocking those promised funds.

“My son needs it for a better life. And I have already lost so much,” she said at the time.

Ms. Churchill shared dozens of screenshots and web pages, unveiling a complex network invented to prey on the hopes of the needy. She said the scammers had known that she had no money, that she was borrowing from her grandmother and her sister to cover the mushrooming fees.

After a few weeks, Ms. Churchill went to the local police. They told her that she had been conned and that there was no way to get her money back.

“This experience has ruined my life, to be honest,” she said.

She had already been struggling. Raising five children largely on her own, she relies on government support. Her mother is nearby in Sydney, but she is on dialysis and not able to help much. After Lachlan, her third born, received a diagnosis of autism, doctors said he needed specialized schooling and interventions she could not afford. Her GoFundMe page raised less than $500.

At the time the message from the “MacKenzie Scott Foundation” appeared in her inbox Ms. Churchill seemed to be in the kind of emotional distress that makes people more vulnerable to scammers, said Stacey Wood, professor of psychology at Scripps College.

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MacKenzie Scott, a Philanthropist and Ex-Wife of Jeff Bezos, Remarries

The billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has remarried after her high-profile divorce from Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

In a letter posted to the website of the philanthropy nonprofit organization the Giving Pledge on Saturday, Dan Jewett, a science teacher at the prestigious Seattle school attended by her children, said that he was “grateful for the exceptional privilege it will be to partner in giving away assets with the potential to do so much good when shared.”

What might otherwise be a wholly private, personal decision, takes on unusual significance in light of the resources at Ms. Scott’s disposal — $53 billion according to Forbes’s most recent estimate — and her stated intention to give the majority of it away.

In addition to the note on the website of the Giving Pledge, Ms. Scott, a published novelist, changed her author page on the Amazon website to read, “She lives in Seattle with her four children and her husband, Dan.”

The Giving Pledge was started by the software mogul Bill Gates, his wife, Melinda, and the billionaire investor Warren Buffett in 2010. Signatories agree to give away the majority of their wealth.

For Ms. Scott, her remarriage is the latest twist in a life where she has quietly but firmly set the limits of her own privacy. Rather than remaining anonymous in her giving, she chose to announce nearly $6 billion in grants and gifts last year in a pair of posts to the site Medium.

“I’ve been calling this discreet transparency. It’s basically transparency but entirely on the givers’ own terms,” said Benjamin Soskis, a senior research associate in the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. “It gives a simulacrum of transparency but it’s still entirely discretionary.”

Ms. Scott occupies a unique place in the world of mega-philanthropy. She does not have the decades of experience that Mr. Gates or former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York have built up. But through the sheer speed and scale of her donations, and the way that she has given her gifts with few of the highly restrictive conditions and onerous reporting requirements that had become common, Ms. Scott managed to help shift the debate about the direction of the field.

She gave extensively to Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. chapters around the country, to food banks and historically Black colleges and universities. She made donations to organizations that support women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. equality, and efforts to fight climate change and racial inequities.

report released jointly last week by the groups Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. The groups found that $4 billion of the $6 billion that Ms. Scott gave away last year could be considered pandemic response, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of Covid-19-related giving by billionaires and other high-net-worth individuals.

“She’s made a huge impact,” said Grace Sato, director of research at Candid. “The way that she gave swung the trends in what we were seeing.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported Ms. Scott’s remarriage.

Ms. Scott was married to Mr. Bezos for 25 years. They divorced in 2019 and her share of the divorce settlement was 4 percent of Amazon’s stock. While her former husband became a tabloid mainstay after their divorce, hanging out on superyachts with fellow magnates and celebrities, Ms. Scott mostly stayed out of the limelight.

In a statement, Mr. Bezos said, “Dan is such a great guy, and I’m happy and excited for the both of them.”

It is unclear when Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett were married. She had not commented about him in any of the publicity around her giving last year. Her representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

“In a stroke of happy coincidence,” Mr. Jewett wrote in his letter posted on the page for the Giving Pledge, “I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know — and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others.”

“I don’t think it’s that surprising to me that she added her husband,” said Debra Mesch, professor at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. “She’s saying, ‘We’re a couple now and our household giving is going to be together.’ That’s what a lot of couples do.”

Describing himself as “a teacher for the majority my life,” Mr. Jewett noted the strangeness of a declaration of his giving intentions, “as I have never sought to gather the kind of wealth required to feel like saying such a thing would have particular meaning.” Mr. Jewett teaches at the Lakeside School, which counts Mr. Gates among its prominent alumni.

Mr. Soskis, of the Urban Institute, said that in the past the events that have shaped giving decisions tended to come late in life, centering on retirement and death, in the form of bequests. Leading philanthropists are now much younger, raising a new set of issues. Priscilla Chan and her husband, the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, cited the birth of their daughter as a motivating factor in their giving.

“The fact that giving is now happening in the prime of life means that giving decisions and giving narratives are being shaped by different life cycle events like divorce and marriage and birth in a way that hadn’t really been the case 30 or 40 years ago,” Mr. Soskis said.

Jack Beggcontributed research.

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