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Amazon founder and one of the world’s richest men, Jeff Bezos, plans to give away a healthy portion of his fortune towards philanthropic endeavors throughout his lifetime. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos is currently the world’s fourth richest man with a net worth of $124 billion, while Forbes puts his net worth at around $122 billion. Bezos, who is a fan of fancy yachts, revealed plans of his charitable ambitions in a rare sit-down interview with CNN.
“Yeah, I do,” answered Bezos, when asked whether he plans to give away a majority of wealth in his lifetime. “The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. It’s not easy,” he added. “We’re building the capacity to give away this money.” Earlier this month, Bezos donated $100 million to country music legend Dolly Parton — who has had a prolific track record of associating with charitable causes.
Going into detail about how he plans to allocate his vast fortune towards altruistic goals, Bezos mentioned that he will focus on both on long-term and urgent needs; ranging from sustainability, conservation, and restoration of natural resources, to acute issues such as food security and homelessness. In July of 2021, Bezos cut a check worth $100 million each to CNN contributor Van Jones and chef Jose Andres.
Focusing on urgent and long-term issues
Bezos’ journey of public philanthropy started with the Bezos Earth Fund in 2020 — which had already donated nearly a billion dollars within a year. The fund, which has a commitment of $10 billion, has a focus on causes like natural restoration and conservation, environmental justice, reducing the carbon footprint at industrial scales, farming, and combating pollution, among others.
Notably, Bezos has not signed the Giving Pledge — a worldwide campaign involving billionaires that have pledged to give away a majority of their wealth towards charitable causes. Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott has signed up for the initiative, and in mid-November announced that in the past seven months alone, Scott had given away $2 billion from her own wealth. Overall, Scott has donated north of $14 billion to charity since her separation from Bezos in 2019.
The Giving Pledge has courted the likes of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Lucas, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Reed Hoffman, and Larry Ellison among famous other billionaires.
During the CNN interview, Bezos was also asked about the longevity of the looming recession, to which he replied that “even the most experienced economists in the world can’t answer that question.” Notably, Amazon plans to lay off over 10,000 workers in the coming days, continuing a worrying trend of massive layoffs at tech giants like Meta and Twitter.