Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced that he plans to give away the majority of his wealth, currently estimated at $122 billion, to help solve various environmental and societal challenges.
Bezos has accrued an enormous fortune over his lifetime as an entrepreneur, computer engineer, media proprietor, and investor. He was the wealthiest person in the world from 2017 to 2021 until he was overtaken by Elon Musk. He has since slipped down a bit, now ranking fourth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Bezos announced his plans during an interview with CNN on Saturday, explaining that he would use his fortune to tackle climate change and support societal “unifiers,” although a timeline and specific dollar amount were absent from the announcement.
Overall, the billionaire provided few specifics for how his plans would be laid out, instead choosing to describe a vision in which his wealth is distributed to individuals who work to fight “division” in American politics and public life.
“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way,” Bezos told CNN.
Despite asserting that he planned to give away most of his money to fight various causes, the world’s wealthiest man has not joined many of his billionaire peers who signed the Giving Pledge, a promise by the world’s richest individuals and families to contribute the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
As of June 2022, the pledge has 236 signatories from 28 countries, including MacKenzie Scott, Bezos’ ex-wife. She even announced earlier this month a gift of $16 million to Grand Prairie Independent School District, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Bezos has however made large contributions to charities through individuals like musician Dolly Parton, CNN contributor Van Jones, and chef José Andrés.