NEW YORK — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he will give away the majority of his wealth during his lifetime, becoming the latest billionaire to pledge to donate much of his vast fortune.
Bezos, whose “real-time” worth Forbes magazine estimates at roughly $124.1 billion, made the announcement in a joint CNN interview with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez that was released today. The billionaire didn’t specify how – or to whom – he will give away the money, but said the couple were building the “capacity” to do it.
“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way,” Bezos said during the interview. “It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and very smart teammates. And I’m finding – and Lauren’s finding – that philanthropy is very similar. It’s not easy. It’s really hard.”
Previously, Bezos has been criticized for not signing the Giving Pledge, the campaign launched by Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage billionaires to donate the majority of their wealth through philanthropy.
The billionaire stepped down as Amazon CEO last year to devote more time to philanthropy and other projects. He’s pledged $10 billion to fight climate change as part of his Bezos Earth Fund initiative. And according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, he gave $510.7 million to nonprofits last year.
On Saturday, Bezos and Sanchez also announced a no-strings-attached $100 million grant to singer Dolly Parton, who’s been praised for her philanthropic work that helped create the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19. Bezos had given a similar grant to chef José Andrés and CNN commentator Van Jones last year.