In brief: Jeff Bezos intends to give away the majority of his wealth during his lifetime, the Amazon founder told CNN in a recent interview. As of writing, Bezos is listed as the world's second wealthiest person with a fortune of $151 billion according to the Forbes 400. Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk sits in the top position with a net worth of $251 billion.
People with an opinion of how Bezos should spend his money have criticized him for not acting sooner. Bezos also hasn't signed the Giving Pledge, a charitable organization founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010 that encourages wealthy individuals and couples to contribute at least half of their net worth to philanthropic causes, either during their lifetime or when they die.
More than 230 signatories from 28 different countries have signed the Giving Pledge to date including Bezos' ex-wife MacKenzie Scott. She currently ranks 18th on the Forbes 400 with a net worth of approximately $37.7 billion.
We've just announced a new Courage and Civility award recipient — @DollyParton, who leads with her heart, and will put this $100 million award to great use helping so many people. She joins prior awardees, @VanJones68 and @Chefjoseandres. Congrats, Dolly! pic.twitter.com/dzTuoGVp3G— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 12, 2022
Bezos said most of his wealth will be used to fight climate change and to support people who he believes can unify humanity. Over the weekend, country music star and philanthropist Dolly Parton was presented with the Bezos Courage and Civility Award. The honor came with a $100 million grant that Parton can donate to charities as she sees fit.
Bezos said building Amazon wasn't easy and he is finding out that philanthropy is very similar. "The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way," he noted, adding that there are a bunch of ways to be very ineffective with it. "We're building the capacity to give away this money," he said.
Amazon was founded by Bezos in mid-1994 out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. The platform initially sold books but eventually expanded to include merchandise spanning nearly every retail category. Today, Amazon is one of the largest and most successful e-commerce platforms in the world.
Bezos stepped down as CEO in July 2021 but continues to serve as the company's executive chairman. He also owns The Washington Post and private space tourism venture Blue Origin, and is reportedly interested in purchasing the NFL's Washington Commanders football team alongside Jay-Z.