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The Amazon founder took to Instagram to announce a new initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund that will fund programmes to combat climate change.
The world’s richest person Jeff Bezos shows that he has a heart as big as his bank account, by making the second largest charitable gift in recent history.
The Amazon founder took to Instagram to announce that he is donating US$10 billion to a new initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund that will fund programmes to combat climate change. This comes after years of criticism that the billionaire was not doing enough with his extraordinary net worth and influence as well as the huge environmental footprint his company has left and continues to leave with its estimated 1 billion packages sent per year.
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Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund. Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals. I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together. – Jeff
Not much has been revealed about how exactly the fund will be utilized or what it will go into, but the size of the money is worth taking note, being only second to the Warren Buffett’s donation of the bulk of his net worth amounting to US$43 billion to the Gates Foundation in 2006. It will however, be channeled exclusively to fund charitable work with no private investment, according to a party familiar with the donation.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” Bezos said in his post. “This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”
Criticism of Bezos and his lack of charitable initiatives has grown significantly harsher when he became the world’s single richest person following his divorce. Conceding, he unveiled the Day One fund, in which he pedged US$2 billion to early childhood education and anti-homelessness initiatives.
The schools being set up from the Day One fund has not yet started operating but about US$200 million has benefitted various homelessness work.
Bezos’ move into making his mark on climate change is revealing, especially so in the wake of a recent strike by his employees pressuring the company into taking more serious action in combating climate crisis.
“We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” a group of activist employees, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, said in a statement. They voiced their dissatisfaction listing off various remaining ties betwen Amazon and fossil fuels. “Will Jeff Bezos show us true leadership or will he continue to be complicit in the acceleration of the climate crisis, while supposedly trying to help?”
Bezos still has not signed The Giving Pledge, the promise by some of the world’s billionaires to do something with their money at least once in their lifetimes or in their wills.