The Amazon founder and world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos, has donated a whopping sum of $200 million to CNN contributor Van Jones and chef José Andrés.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday after his journey to space, Bezos said he planned to award $100 million each to Jones and Andres, noting that both men were free to do “what they want” with the money.
“They can give it all to their charity, or they can share the wealth. It is up to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, he noted that the money was tied to a “surprise” philanthropic initiative he wanted to announce called the Courage and Civility Award, which aims to honor those who have “demonstrated courage” and tried to be a unifier in a divisive world.
“We need unifiers and not vilifiers. We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models,” Bezos said.
Accepting the award, Jones said, “Sometimes dreams come true. You bet on me and I appreciate it.”
Furthermore, he said the award was money for him to “give to others who have a similar spirit.”
On his part, Andrés, a chef, who made efforts to feed those in need around the world, said that the award itself “cannot feed the world on its own,” noting that it was a “start of a new chapter.”
The philanthropic initiative from Bezos comes as he and fellow billionaires such as Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic investor, face criticism for spending their wealth on space tourism.
Bezos has previously been criticised for not contributing more to philanthropy, however, he has donated billions of dollars in recent years to causes including climate change and food banks.
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