By Mukwuzi Joseph
On the heels of what some critics have called the world’s most expensive midlife crisis, Amazon founder and Blue Origin boss Jeff Bezos announced a pair of charitable donations totaling $200 million hours after his space capsule touched down in West Texas.
Bezos announced gifts of $100 million apiece to chef jose Andres and political commentator Van Jones, who will direct the funds to charities of their choice. A week before Tuesday’s successful suborbital flight, he donated $200 million to National Air & Space Museum. And recently, the non-profit arm of his Blue Origin spaceflight company gave $19 million to 19 space nonprofits.
The grand total: $419 million in a week. And one 65-mile trip to (near) outer space.
Bezos announced the gifts during a post-flight press conference following a 10- minutes ride to press on a reusable New Shepard rocket ship that was built by Blue Origin, the company created by Bezos in 2000. The flight marked the first time that people flew aboard New Shepard.
“They can give it all to their own charity or they can share the wealth. It’s up to them,” Bezos said. The gifts are part of the “Courage and Civility Award,” which “recognizes leaders who aim high, pursue solutions with courage, and always do so with civility.”
In his comments, the richest man in the world — now worth $204 billion — also thanked Amazon customers and employees. “I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this,” .he said