Founder of Amazon and one of the richest men in the world, promises to give away vast majority of his $124bn (£110bn) fortune
Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos has pledged to give away the vast majority of his $124bn (£110bn) fortune during his lifetime.
The Amazon founder, 58, was once the world’s richest men, but he now is the world’s fourth-richest man according to Forbes.
For years Bezos has faced criticism from some quarters for not signing up to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s ‘Giving Pledge’, which encourages the ultra rich to share their fortune with those most in need.
Other big names in the tech field have pledged to give away their fortunes.
For example in 2010 Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away the best part of his personal fortune to charity.
Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter CEO Elon Musk is also a signatory to the Giving Pledge, which has attracted more than 230 signatories in total.
And now it seems that Jeff Bezos will give away most of his fortune in order to fight climate change and support people who can unify humanity in the face of deep social and political divisions.
But Bezos it seems will not be signing up to the Giving Pledge, preferring to donate independently, after telling CNN that he and his partner Lauren Sánchez are “building the capacity to be able to give away this money.”
In a sit-down interview with CNN’s Chloe Melas on Saturday at his Washington, DC, home, Bezos, was asked directly by CNN whether he intends to donate the majority of his wealth within his lifetime, Bezos said: “Yeah, I do.”
“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way – it is not easy,” he said. “Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and a bunch of very smart teammates. Philanthropy is very similar. It is really hard and there are a bunch of ways you can do ineffective things, too. We are building the capacity to be able to give away this money.”
The 58-year-old made the pledge after giving $100m to the country singer Dolly Parton to give to charities of her choice as part of Bezos’s annual Courage and Civility award.
We’ve just announced a new Courage and Civility award recipient — @DollyParton, who leads with her heart, and will put this $100 million award to great use helping so many people. She joins prior awardees, @VanJones68 and @Chefjoseandres. Congrats, Dolly! pic.twitter.com/dzTuoGVp3G
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 12, 2022
The $100m donation to Parton is the third donation Bezos has made as part of his Courage and Civility award, after similar grants to the chef José Andrés and the climate advocate Van Jones.
“Conflict travels, conflict is interesting and people do focus on conflict,” said Bezos, discussing the award to the 9 to 5 singer in an interview with CNN. “[I] want to bring a little bit of light, a little bit of amplification to these people who use unity instead of conflict.”
Back in February 2020 the Amazon founder committed $10bn over 10 years to the Bezos Earth Fund.
Amazon is also one of 300 companies that have promised to reduce their carbon footprint by 2040 in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
It was announced a week ago at the start of the COP27 summit that his Bezos Earth Fund had pledged $1bn more by 2030 to help protect carbon reserves and biodiversity – building on $9bn of funds already committed to the climate cause.
Meanwhile Bezos’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, in 2019 received a record $38bn divorce settlement from Bezos, instantly making her the world’s fourth richest woman.
She has already signed up to the Giving Pledge, and has already made various donations.