Jeff Bezos said he was putting $10 billion toward saving the planet in February 2020. Now, he’s putting that fund into action, supporting advocacy groups all over the globe.
The richest man on earth announced the first round of grants from the Bezos Earth Fund, and the 16 environmental organizations who will split $791 million, on Instagram.
“I’ve spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who’ve made it their life’s work to fight climate change and its impact on communities around the world,” Bezos wrote. “I’m inspired by what they’re doing, and excited to help them scale.”
According to the Verge, the Bezos Earth Fund makes up more than 7 percent of the billionaire’s net worth and “10 times as much as philanthropic foundations gave globally in 2018 to efforts to slow climate change.”
The climate fund grants have been awarded to established nonprofits that have been promoting conservationist policies for decades.
As Vox reports, “If you were hoping for the tech billionaire to make moonshot investments in unheard-of but highly effective charities, Bezos’s gifts will disappoint you. But if you were hoping for massive cash injections into well-financed, uncontroversial, and long-established organizations, Bezos fulfills your expectations.”
Awards of $100 million each are going to five of the largest environmental nonprofits in the U.S.:
- the Environmental Defense Fund
- the Natural Resources Defense Council
- the Nature Conservancy
- the World Resources Institute
- the World Wildlife Fund
“These first grants make it clear Bezos is entering the mainstream of US climate philanthropy. It’s hard to write an eight-figure check to any but the biggest, most established grantees,” said Daniel Firger, who oversaw Mike Bloomberg’s climate philanthropy.
Amazon, which Bezos founded, has faced criticism for working with oil and gas companies responsible for creating millions of tons of greenhouse gases each year while retaliating against employees that speak out about the company’s policies. In September 2020 Amazon announced that it would be offsetting all carbon emissions by 2040, Vox reports, “notably, the change came just a day before 1,500 of its workers planned to walk out of its offices to support climate change.”
Criticism aside, the Bezos Earth Fund represents the largest charitable gift in history, and could have a massive impact on the future of our planet.Whizzco