Technology

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos asks how to give away money

The billionaire founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has asked people on Twitter to help him with ideas for philanthropy.

The Amazon founder is on track to be richer than Bill Gates, who is by far the most famous technology billionaire philanthropist.

But the second richest man in the world seemingly wants to out-compete the Microsoft founder’s charitable activities too.

Mr Bezos said on Twitter he wanted his “philanthropy strategy” to be “the opposite of how I mostly spend my time – working on the long term” but rather one which focused on “the right now”.

In the tweet, he cited the work of Mary’s Place, an organisation which supports homeless women, children and families in Seattle, where Amazon is based.

“I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now – short term – at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact,” he said.

“If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea.”

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Mr Bezos asked Twitter to suggest targets for his charity

The request signals a change for Mr Bezos, who has invested in longer-term bets like space exploration and kept quieter about other givings.

His philanthropic activities have involved supporting an education foundation run by his parents.

Earlier this year, his family committed $35m (£27m) to the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre.

It was the largest single donation to the organisation in its 41-year history.

Mr Bezos recently stumbled in his sprint to overcome Mr Gates as the world’s richest man when his company’s share price fell more then 3%, wiping $2.6bn (£2bn) off his net worth.

Despite momentarily becoming the world’s third richest man, Mr Bezos’ net worth has now recovered to $82.8bn (£64.8bn) – keeping him ahead of Spanish clothing tycoon Amancio Ortega at $81.5bn (£63.8), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He remains considerably short of Mr Gates’ $89.4bn (£70bn) net worth.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organisations in the world, with an endowment trust fund of $39.6bn. It employs more than 1,400 people.

The foundation has promised to spend all of its resources within 20 years of both of the Gates’ deaths.


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