Jeff Bezos, the billionaire chief executive officer of Amazon, tweeted to his followers on Thursday requesting for ideas on what kind of philanthropic projects he should engage in.
“I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time — working on the long term. For philanthropy, I find I’m drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now,” tweeted Bezos.
In the online posting the Amazon CEO disclosed that one of the nonprofits that had inspired and moved him the most was Mary’s Place which is based in Seattle and which assists homeless women. Last year Bezos promised to match donations made to Mary’s Place up to a maximum of $1 million in a challenge that ran for one day.
In a report published by Forbes last year on 400 of the richest people in the United States, it was estimated that the founder of Amazon had donated about $100 million in his life by the close of 2015. Most of his giving was to science. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, on the other hand, had donated approximately $32.9 billion in his lifetime while Warren Buffet, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, had donated $25.5 billion in his lifetime by the close of 2015. Currently, Bill Gates is world’s richest person followed by Jeff Bezos. Third on the list is Warren Buffet.
Among the five leading billionaires in the United States, Bezos is the only one who has not appended his signature to the Giving Pledge – a promise developed by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates with a view to ensuring the superrich give away 50% of their wealth at the minimum. Bezos has also never been featured on Philanthropy 50, the list of the top 50 largest donors in America.
The parents of Jeff Bezos, Mike and Jackie Bezos, run the education-focused Bezos Family Foundation while Jeff Bezos as well as his siblings are on the board of directors of the foundation. As per the IRS filings of the Bezos Family Foundation, the first donation by Jeff Bezos to the foundation didn’t come until six years ago when he gave Amazon stock worth a little under $1 million.
Some of the donations Bezos has made include $15 million to Princeton University, where Bezos and his wife both studied. Six years ago Bezos also gave $10 million to the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, Washington.