Billionaire Jeff Bezos announced on Tuesday that he was spending a huge amount of his own money on two men: controversial CNN contributor Van Jones and celebrity chef José Andrés, each of whom received $ 100 million to direct to organizations charities of their choice.
In a surprise at the end of a press conference after his successful journey into sub-orbital space, the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin unveiled his new “Courage and Civility Award,” which according to he, “recognizes leaders who aim high and who courageously seek solutions and who always do so with courtesy. Recipients are given $ 100 million to donate to charities or nonprofits of their choice, and Bezos said winners can direct all funds to their own nonprofits or “distribute the wealth” towards other organizations.
The move came minutes after his shocking comments that he wanted to “thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you paid for it all.” Seriously, to every Amazon customer and every Amazon employee, thank you from the bottom of my heart, very much. Some fired back at him on Twitter, demanding a “refund.”
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Jones has been a particularly controversial public figure. The left-wing CNN commentator once called himself a “communist” and previously referred to the election of former President Donald Trump as “a” boost. It was a “boost” against a changing country. It was in part a “whiplash” against a black president. In another segment, he took aim at the National Rifle Association, essentially linking it to the Ku Klux Klan: “You have a whole generation of young people who essentially see the NRA as their enemy. To them, the NRA is like the KKK. ”
During his announcement, Bezos called Jones to the stage, honoring the criminal justice reform advocate and founder of Dream Corps as the inaugural winner.
“Sometimes dreams come true,” Jones said, addressing the crowd in an emotional acceptance speech.
He added, “If this little group of people can work miracles in space, a larger group of people can work miracles here, and we will do it. “
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“I know Van Jones is going to do something amazing with this $ 100 million,” Bezos said. “I don’t know what yet, he doesn’t know what yet, but it’s in your hands. “
The second winner was celebrity chef José Andrés, who founded World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides food to victims of natural disasters. Andrés made headlines in 2020 for his charity’s initiatives to feed hungry people in need in several locations across the United States as the pandemic raged.
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“A plate of food is a plate of hope,” Andrés said in his acceptance speech after expressing his gratitude to Bezos. “It is the fastest way to rebuild life and communities, and this prize in itself cannot feed the world on its own. “
“But,” he added, “this is the start of a new chapter for us and allows us to think beyond the next hurricane to the bigger challenges we face. “