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 ever made.
Separately on Monday, the Medical Center at New York University said it had received a $166 million gift from Bezos and his family.
For its part, the Obama Foundation said in a statement that Bezos’ gift is intended to “help expand the scope of programming that reaches emerging leaders” in the United States and around the world.
The donation, it said, was also given in honor of John Lewis, Congressman and civil rights icon who died last year. As part of the gift, the foundation said Bezos has asked to name the plaza at the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side to be named after Lewis. Valerie Jarrett, a former Obama senior adviser who served as the foundation’s CEO, said in a statement that the foundation was “thrilled” by the idea.
Construction on Obama’s legacy project will cost approximately $830 million and is expected to be completed by 2025. Meanwhile, the foundation said it is giving donors an opportunity to “honor and name those who have fought for a more just and equitable world” by naming public spaces at the Future Presidential Center.
Jeff Bezos said, “Freedom fighters deserve a special place in the pantheon of heroes, and I know of a great American leader and man of extraordinary decency and courage to be honored with this gift more fitting than John Lewis.” Can’t think.” “I am thrilled to support the President and Mrs. Obama and their Foundation in their mission to train and inspire the leaders of tomorrow.”
Since stepping down as Amazon CEO this year, Bezos has begun to focus more of his attention on philanthropy. NYU, which received the other Bezos gift announced Monday, said in a statement that the donation will be used to assist “with the health and well-being of diverse populations” in the NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn community, which serves as the school’s teaching hospitals and One of the trauma centers. Brooklyn.
Last year, Bezos through his Bezos Earth Fund committed to spending $10 billion by 2030 to bolster climate change efforts. In recent months, it has released few details about how it plans to spend that money.
Bezos, whose personal wealth is estimated by Forbes to be around $212 billion, has long been questioned about his relatively modest level of charitable giving and his reluctance to sign The Giving Pledge. The pledge, developed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, aims to persuade the world’s wealthiest people to donate more than half of their worth to charities.
Mackenzie Scott, Bezos’ ex-wife whose net worth is estimated at $61 billion, has signed the pledge. Scott has made a splash in the philanthropy world by donating $8.7 billion—without strings attached—to a number of nonprofits across the country over the past 17 months.
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