Beyond Discounts: Peeking at Billionaire Philanthropy during Amazon Prime Day

Beyond Discounts: Peeking at Billionaire Philanthropy during Amazon Prime Day

As Amazon Prime Day approaches, many shoppers prepare to take advantage of some of Amazon’s most exceptional deals of the year while others are watching from the sidelines, conflicted. This two-day shopping extravaganza may be a time to try your luck on some deals but it also presents an opportunity to reflect on the broader implications of consumerism and wealth accumulation in our society. The mixed feelings surrounding billionaires and their influence on our economic landscape come into focus during events like Amazon Prime Day.

On one hand, Amazon Prime Day offers customers a chance to save money on a wide range of products, making it an appealing prospect for many. From bathrobes to batteries, shoppers can save up to 35% on items, storewide. The convenience and accessibility of online shopping have undoubtedly transformed the retail industry, and Amazon, under the leadership of Jeff Bezos, has been at the forefront of this revolution. Bezos, as one of the world's wealthiest individuals, has redefined what it means to amass vast amounts of wealth through technological innovation and entrepreneurial prowess.

However, the accumulation of extreme wealth by a select few billionaires has sparked conversations about income inequality, social responsibility, and the ethical implications of immense financial disparities. Today at HBCU Leggings, we want to focus on what good is possible when resources are used where they’re needed most. 

Mackenzie Scott: Billionaire Benefactor

MacKenzie Scott's remarkable philanthropy has garnered attention and admiration worldwide. Following her divorce from Jeff Bezos, she committed herself to making transformative contributions to a wide range of causes, including education, racial equality, and economic empowerment. Scott's philanthropic journey has been characterized by a deep commitment to addressing systemic inequalities and uplifting marginalized communities. Her recent focus on HBCUs demonstrates a profound understanding of the significance of higher education for Black excellence and the creation of opportunities. 

In 2020, Scott donated an unprecedented $1.7 billion to 116 institutions. $150 million of which was donated to select HBCUs including Xavier University, Tuskegee University, Hampton University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Howard University. At Xavier, where many students don’t graduate due to financial needs, the money was used to increase scholarship funds for students facing financial hardship. At Spelman, the money was put towards a five year plan to improve campus infrastructure. At Howard, President Wayne Frederick pledged to put the funds towards faculty retention programs, financial support for students as well as academic innovation and entrepreneurship. 

MacKenzie Scott's philanthropy has been a catalyst for change, and her support for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) demonstrates a commitment to putting resources where they can make the most impact. 

Black Billionaires

Scott’s philanthropy is remarkable indeed, but she isn’t the only one sharing great wealth with HBCUs. 

Robert F. Smith, a prominent Black billionaire and founder of Vista Equity Partners, has made significant contributions to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In 2019, during his commencement speech at Morehouse College, Smith surprised the graduating class by announcing that he would pay off their student loan debts. This act of generosity amounted to approximately $34 million and provided immense financial relief to the students, allowing them to start their careers without the burden of student loans. Smith's donation not only demonstrated his commitment to education but also served as an inspiration for others to support HBCUs and invest in the future of young Black scholars.

Oprah Winfrey, a trailblazing media mogul and philanthropist, has been a steadfast supporter of HBCUs. Through her Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, she has provided scholarships and grants to several HBCUs, including Tennessee State University, which received a $2 million donation. Winfrey has also established the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College, supporting students pursuing degrees in the humanities. Her contributions have empowered countless students to pursue higher education, fulfilling their dreams and creating opportunities for success.

Sean "Jay Z" Carter, renowned rapper, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, has demonstrated his commitment to HBCUs through various initiatives. In partnership with his entertainment company Roc Nation, Jay Z launched the "Reform Alliance," a criminal justice reform organization that focuses on transforming the U.S. probation and parole systems. As part of their efforts, the Reform Alliance has pledged to donate $50 million over ten years to support organizations, including HBCUs, that are working to improve the lives of individuals affected by the criminal justice system. Jay Z's dedication to social justice and his financial support for HBCUs showcase the importance of using wealth and influence to address systemic inequalities and create opportunities for marginalized communities.

These examples represent just a few instances of Black billionaires giving back to HBCUs. Their contributions go beyond financial support, as they inspire others to invest in education, uplift communities, and remove barriers to success. Through their philanthropy, these Black billionaires have played a crucial role in empowering HBCUs and nurturing the next generation of leaders, paving the way for a more equitable future.

Shopping Small 

Every day, we are faced with the complex implications of billionaire wealth on our society. While it raises concerns about income inequality and power imbalances, the philanthropic efforts of billionaires like MacKenzie Scott, Robert F. Smith, Oprah Winfrey, and Jay Z highlight their potential to address systemic inequalities and empower marginalized communities, particularly through support for HBCUs. Simultaneously, it is crucial to recognize the importance of supporting small businesses (like HBCU Leggings!), which serve as the backbone of local economies and contribute to vibrant communities.

You can find our Howard University Bison Logo Racer Leggings and Howard University Bison Logo Ankara Print Leggings on Amazon as part of the sale with free shipping on July 11th and 12th. By consciously navigating Prime Day with an emphasis on supporting small businesses and advocating for a more equitable distribution of wealth, we can strive towards a future that balances the positive impact of philanthropy with a thriving small business ecosystem, fostering inclusive growth and opportunities for all.

Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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