Jeff Bezos gives millions to Van Jones, José Andrés after space flight: NPR

Jeff Bezos gives millions to Van Jones, José Andrés after space flight: NPR

Jeff Bezos gives millions to Van Jones, José Andrés after space flight: NPR

Jeff Bezos hugs Van Jones, founder of Dream Corps, on Tuesday after announcing a $ 200 million award for himself and chef José Andrés for charities of their choice.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images


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Jeff Bezos gives millions to Van Jones, José Andrés after space flight: NPR

Jeff Bezos hugs Van Jones, founder of Dream Corps, on Tuesday after announcing a $ 200 million award for himself and chef José Andrés for charities of their choice.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Moments after returning from the edge of space, Jeff Bezos thanked the Blue Origin team that made his flight possible. He also thanked the Texas town of Van Horn, which hosted Tuesday’s launch. And then he said this:

“I want to thank all the employees and customers of Amazon, because you paid for all this. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”

The Internet responded with a cry of disbelief.

In one video, Bezos’s comment appears serious and elicits laughter from the press conference audience. But as the richest person on earth, a millionaire of extreme proportions, worth more than $ 200 billion, man has come under an intense microscope for his attitudes toward America’s enormous divide of wealth.

Amazon now employs nearly 1.3 million workers, most of them scanning and packing goods in warehouses. In 2018, Amazon was one of the first large corporations to increase its starting salary to $ 15 an hour, and its public relations team has fought the perception of the company as a low-wage employer. In 2020, the company reported that its medium daring which is $ 29,007 a year.

On Tuesday, after his 11-minute launch to the edge of space, Bezos handed out $ 200 million in “prizes for bravery and citizenship.” The sum is divided between chef José Andrés and CNN personality and social entrepreneur Van Jones to be awarded to charities and non-profit organizations of his choice.

“We need unifiers and not slanderers,” Bezos said when announcing the award. “It is easy to be brave but also petty. Try to be brave and civilized. Try to be brave and unifying. That is more difficult and much better, and it makes the world better.”

Bezos resigned as CEO of Amazon on July 5, exactly 27 years since he launched the company. But he is still Amazon’s largest shareholder, and his wealth is tied to the success of the company, now valued at $ 1.8 trillion. That’s why Bezos has referred to Amazon as his “lottery ticket“which allowed him to invest in space exploration – about $ 1 billion a year.

Jeff Bezos gives millions to Van Jones, José Andrés after space flight: NPR

Since Bezos bought The Washington Post and financed a 10,000 year clock Inside a mountain, he has faced calls to intensify philanthropy more commensurate with his wealth.

Last year, Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott headlined the list of charitable donors from the USA. Bezos has invested some money in causes like homelessness, education and climate change. In the past week, gave $ 200 million to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

In an interview Monday with CNN, Bezos addressed critics who argue that his wealth and attention would serve better if they were directed toward more urgent needs on our planet.

“We have to do both,” Bezos said. “We have a lot of problems here and now on Earth, and we must work on them. And we must always look to the future,” adding that perhaps “amazing things” that the next generations can do in space “will solve the problems here in. the earth. ”

Editor’s note: Amazon is among the financial backers of NPR.

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