After Jeff Bezos announced his intention to give away most of his $124B fortune, mixed reactions surfaced. He made the statement while speaking to CNN beside his partner Lauren Sánchez inside his Washington, DC, home on Saturday. At 58, Amazon founder and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos stated that he and Sánchez are “building the capacity to be able to give away this money… the hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way.”

This is in addition to his commitment to giving $10B over ten years to the Bezos Earth Fund. This organization intends to reduce the carbon footprint of construction-grade cement and achieve other ecologically meaningful goals. These are at the forefront of Bezos’s mind, considering he told CNN that he plans to “devote the bulk of his wealth to fighting climate change and supporting people who can unify humanity in the face of deep social and political divisions.”

When Bezos’s most recent pledge reached the social media scene, it was met with many reactions. Between disbelief and excitement at the announcement, many comments offering suggestions for how the wealth could be distributed emerged. Bezos is the fourth-wealthiest person in the world, so the possibilities for what could be done with his wealth are endless. 

One of the main critiques of the announcement can be summarized in the following critique: if Besoz is giving away money, why doesn’t he pay Amazon employees more? According to Glassdoor, warehouse workers for the company make an average of $19 per hour. This criticism was answered by multiple voices mentioning that Bezos is now the executive chair of Amazon—he’s no longer the acting CEO since the transition in 2021. 

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Another common criticism focused on the fact that the announcement rode in on the tails of news that Amazon is reportedly laying off 10,000 employees. Critics noted that this seemed like a way to divert the media’s attention elsewhere. 

Maybe the most popular sentiment is that donations don’t require announcements, making this an inconsistent and meaningless event. Some sectors of public opinion leaned toward the old saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ 

According to activist Charlotte Clymer, “I think he should just hand it over to MacKenzie Scott, who has unhesitatingly given away billions in just the past few years without needing to be convinced to help other human beings.” According to Forbes, Bezos’ ex-wife has given away $12.8bn in two years. 

In the mix of skeptics and supporters were those offering to take the donation upon themselves. “Hey @JeffBezos, if you’re giving away money, can you shoot me $10,000? It would solve a surprising amount of my problems,” and “Jeff Bezos giving away all his bread and me not getting [any] would be ridiculous” were just two eagerly tweeted responses.

Of his $10B pledge to the Besoz Earth Fund, $1.54B has already been disbursed. Bezos and Sánchez recently gave Dolly Parton a grant for $100M as part of her Courage and Civility Award, which is set to reach her chosen charities soon. Parton responded, “I try to put my money where my heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez.”

King Charles speaks in French as he thanks Macron for the Versailles banquet.