Former President Barack Obama’s Foundation announced Monday that it has received a $ 100 million donation from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, which it says is the largest individual contribution it has received to date.
Separately Monday, New York University Medical Center said it has received a $ 166 million gift from Bezos and his family.
For its part, the Obama Foundation said in a statement that the gift from Bezos is intended to “help expand the scope of programming that reaches new leaders” in the United States and around the world.
The donation, it said, was also given in honor of John Lewis, the congressman and civil rights icon who died last year. As part of the gift, the foundation said Bezos has requested that the square at the Obama Presidential Center, which is under construction on Chicago’s South Side, be named after Lewis. Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to Obama who serves as the foundation’s executive director, said in a statement that the foundation was “excited” about the idea.
The construction of Obama’s legacy project is expected to cost about $ 830 million and be completed by 2025. Meanwhile, the foundation said it allows donors to “honor and the names of those who have fought for a more just and just world” by naming public spaces in the future presidential center.
“Freedom fighters deserve a special place in the heroes’ pantheon, and I can not think of a more appropriate person to honor with this gift than John Lewis, a great American leader and a man of extraordinary decency and courage,” said Jeff Bezos. in the statement issued by the Fund. “I am excited to support President and Mrs. Obama and their foundation in their mission to train and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.”
Since stepping down as CEO of Amazon this year, Bezos has begun to focus more on philanthropy. NYU, which received the second Bezos gift announced Monday, said in a statement that the donation will be used to help “with the health and well-being of different populations” across NYU Langone Hospital — the Brooklyn community, one of the school’s teaching hospitals and trauma centers in Brooklyn.
Last year, Bezos committed to spend $ 10 billion by 2030 to increase climate change efforts through its Bezos Earth Fund. In recent months, he has released some details on how he plans to spend this money.
Bezos, whose personal fortune is estimated by Forbes at about $ 212 billion, had long been asked about the relatively modest level of his charitable gifts and reluctance to sign The Giving Pledge. The pledge, developed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, aims to persuade the world’s richest to donate more than half of their value to philanthropic organizations.
MacKenzie Scott, Bezos’ ex-wife, whose fortune is estimated at $ 61 billion, has signed the pledge. Scott has made a splash in the philanthropy world over the past 17 months by donating $ 8.7 billion – unconditionally – to several nonprofits across the country.
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