Entrepreneur and business pioneer Jeff Bezos is known as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. He is best known as the founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Amazon.com. Amazon’s business model revolutionized how consumers shop and buy products online. The company is now worth a whopping $863 billion.
Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post and the founder of the space exploration business Blue Origin. According to Bloomberg, Bezos is the fourth-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $124 billion. The business tycoon has also proved that there are various types of business models to create wealth and several avenues to donate through his many philanthropic endeavors.
Jeff and MacKenzie
Before becoming a world-renowned businessman, Bezos started his life from humble beginnings in New Mexico. Born on January 12, 1964, he developed an early interest in computers and technology. He would go on to attend Princeton University to study computer science and electrical engineering.
He worked on Wall Street after graduating. In 1990 he was appointed the youngest senior vice president at the quantitative hedge fund, D.E. Shaw. While there, he would meet his future wife, MacKenzie Tuttle.
MacKenzie Tuttle, an alumnus of Princeton University, earned her bachelor’s degree in English before beginning work at D.E. Shaw. Within three months of dating, the couple was engaged. Six months later they got married in 1993. In 1994 Bezos and Scott quit their high-paying positions at D. E. Shaw, relocated to Seattle, and founded Amazon. Bezos and Scott started Amazon in their garage. Scott served as the organization’s administrator.
As one of Amazon’s original workers, Scott played a significant role in the company’s early development. The couple has four children and were married for 25 years before divorcing in 2019, with Scott keeping a $38 billion stake in Amazon. Scott pledged to contribute the majority of her wealth shortly after their divorce agreement, and in July 2020, she stated she would be donating $1.7 billion.
Jeff Bezos and Philanthropy
While their marriage may have ended, it was just the beginning for Bezos, who began amassing an impressive portfolio. He bought The Washington Post in 2013, and in 2017 Amazon bought Whole Foods. On February 17, 2020, Jeff Bezos unveiled the Bezos Earth Fund, which aims to fight the climate problem and promote a future that values the environment, and he launched philanthropic giving.
In 2020, Bezos promised to donate $10 billion to his environmental foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund. The fund has distributed over $1 billion as of November 2021. Mr. Bezos resigned as CEO of Amazon in 2021 to concentrate on his philanthropy, where he has increased his generosity recently.
How Much Does Jeff Bezos Donate?
With a lifetime giving of over $2.1 Billion, Bezos said in late 2022 that it was time to “batten down the hatches” due to current economic conditions. Bezos has occasionally allowed other well-known people to make decisions on how to use his philanthropic donations. He recently gifted country legend Dolly Parton $100 million to donate to any charities of her choosing as part of the Courage and Civility award.
Bezos committed $100 million to former president Barack Obama’s Foundation in 2021 alone. He also gave funds to José Andrés, the chef at World Central Kitchen, and Van Jones, the founder of the organization. The money was give for them to donate to the causes of their choice.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum also received a $200 million donation from Bezos in July 2020. Additionally, Bezos donates $100 million annually to organizations that assist homeless families as part of his Day One Fund effort.
Bezos has increased his philanthropy enough since becoming chairman of Amazon in July 2021 that he was listed on Forbes’ list of the 25 most generous billionaires that same year. A large portion of Bezos’ charitable donations is made in the form of Amazon shares. The nonprofit recipient is free to sell without incurring capital gains taxes. According to SEC filings, Bezos gave 84,030 Amazon shares worth $233 million to unidentified NGOs in 2022.
The founder of Amazon stated in November 2022 that he intends to donate the majority of his $124 billion fortune to charitable causes during his lifetime. Bezos continued by saying he and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, are “developing the capacity to be able to give this money out.”
Bezos Focusing on Space
Regarding Bezos’ spending priorities, one thing is obvious. His charitable and commercial investments see a future in space, as Blue Origin, and his venture into space tourism is off to a strong start. The specifics of how his assets are to be used are also hidden in the technical print of the 2020 Earth Fund grants.
The Environmental Defense Fund received the same amount to support the “completion and launch of MethaneSAT, a satellite that will… locate and measure sources of methane pollution around the world.” The World Resources Institute received $100 million to “develop a satellite-based monitoring system to advance natural climate solutions throughout the world.” Bezos believes exploring space will be essential to resolving climate problems.
Mr. Bezos’ net worth has decreased by around $68 billion this year as he has watched the price of Amazon stock fall. Before Elon Musk took the top spot in 2021, Bezos had the world’s title of the wealthiest person. While we don’t know how long the current market conditions will remain or the future of Amazon, we can be sure that Mr. Bezos will continue to advance his philanthropic giving and focus on donations to space, the homeless, and climate change.