Bezos, the world’s richest man and founder of Amazon, did not require Jones and Andres how to spend the money.
After his successful return from a historic tourist trip to space that lasted 11 minutes, American billionaire Jeff Bezos announced the granting of $ 100 million to the American human rights contributor to CNN (CNN) Van Jones, and the famous Spanish chef Jose Andres.
Bezos, who is the world’s richest man and founder of Amazon, did not require Jones and Andres how to spend the money, but said at a press conference after his flight into space that they “are free to spend the money as they like; they can donate all the money to their charities, or share the wealth, It’s up to them.”
After announcing his generous gift, Bezos made it clear that the money was part of a “surprising” humanitarian initiative he wanted to announce, called the “Courage and Civility Award”, which aims to honor those who show courage and try to solve global issues.
Describing Jones and Andres as “role models”, he said, “We need unifiers of the world, not dispersers. We need people who work hard to achieve what they believe in. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this does not happen often, but we still have models emulated”.
Dreams come true
Commenting on his choice to receive the surprise award, Jones, 52, said on his Instagram account, “Sometimes dreams come true,” adding, “During my 30 years in my work as an activist and social entrepreneur, I have neither heard nor dreamed of a charitable award of this magnitude.”
Jones, who was a former senior aide to former US President Barack Obama, created the non-profit organization Dream Corps, which aims to close prison doors and open doors of new opportunities.
The organization champions issues such as criminal justice reform, where it has managed to get more than 17,000 black citizens out of prison and return them to their homes, and to protect more than 30,000 women from abuse while incarcerated through the “Dignity for Women Prisoners” campaign.
A new beginning
Despite the enormity of the award, Chef Andres, 52, who is dedicated to feeding those in need around the world, said the award “cannot feed the world on its own, but it is the beginning of a new chapter for us.”
Commenting on receiving the award, Andres stated that he will use the money to develop his organization’s work, World Central Kitchen, which targets regions of the world affected by storms and other natural disasters, to create kitchens to feed victims.
He expressed his hope to fight hunger and its causes, double food aid around the world, and improve the ways in which 3 billion people in the world cook; Replacing dirty cooking stoves with clean ones, indicating that the epidemic has pushed many people to the brink of starvation.
Andres established his charitable organization in 2010, aimed at empowering communities and strengthening economies, and says on his website that he never imagined that he would receive calls from all over the world.
But the organization quickly developed and over these years was able to respond to many natural disasters on the five continents, including the massive forest fires in Australia, and the deadly explosion in Lebanon, as Prince Harry and his wife, Duchess Megan Merkel, announced in late 2020 their cooperation with the organization to build relief centers.
Andres has received several awards for his efforts in helping those in need around the world, including the Humanitarian Award by the non-profit James Beard Culinary Arts Foundation in 2017, the National Humanities Medal in 2015, and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his work in Disaster relief through his organization.
To mitigate criticism
The humanitarian initiative launched by Bezos comes as he and his billionaire friends, such as British owner Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Galactic, face fierce criticism for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on space tourism, rather than working to improve the conditions of the population. ground.
Bezos did not denounce the motives behind the criticism he faces, and said in an interview with CNN before his trip to space, “Well, they (the critics) are pretty much right, and we have to achieve both, we have a lot of problems here on Earth. We need to work on it, we also need to always look to the future, we have to do both.”
Bezos previously faced many criticisms for his lack of donations to charitable projects, with his fortune amounting to more than 200 billion dollars, but he has donated billions of dollars in recent years to many global causes, including climate change and food banks.
“Proud twitter enthusiast. Introvert. Hardcore alcohol junkie. Lifelong food specialist. Internet guru.”