Amazon Founder Bezos Plans to Give Away Most of His Fortune

Jeff Bezos sitting in a chair

Michael Kovac/Getty Image

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world's fourth-richest man, pledged to give away a majority of his $124 billion net worth in his lifetime, after previously being scrutinized for not doing so.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos will give away most of his $124 billion
  • Bezos has been criticized for not signing The Giving Pledge to give away most of his money when his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott has.
  • Bezos hasn't named specific charities or given a timeline but will give towards climate change

Bezos said he'll devote the money to fighting climate change and supporting people who can unify humanity, although he didn't name any specific charities or provide a timeline.

As of October, Bezos had given away $2.4 billion in his lifetime, less than 2% of his entire net worth. His donations have been criticized when compared to those of his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who has donated $12.8 billion to 1,200 organizations in the two years since divorcing Bezos.

Scott also signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment started by Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffet in 2010 for billionaires to give away the majority of their wealth, which Bezos didn't sign.

Bezos and his partner Lauren Sánchez are "building the capacity to be able to give away this money," he said in an interview with CNN.

Bezos suggest he'll seek to maximize returns and donate to large nonprofits, a different strategy than Scott’s donation strategy.

“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way," he told CNN. "It's not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work, a bunch of very smart teammates, hard-working teammates, and I'm finding — and I think Lauren is finding the same thing — that charity, philanthropy, is very similar."

Fighting Climate Change

Previously, one of Bezos’ main goals in his philanthropic efforts has been to combat climate change and global warming.

In 2020, Bezos pledged $10 billion over 10 years through the Bezos Earth Fund to protect nature and fight climate change. As of November, the fund had distributed $1.54 billion.

Amazon also pledged, alongside 300 other companies, to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by 2040 in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, Bezos has been under scrutiny for these pledges.

 Amazon’s footprint grew 18% in 2021, with the company citing as the main factor the pandemic boom in electronic commerce.

Many have also criticized his choice to invest $8.6 billion in his space company, Blue Origin, rather than devoting money towards fixing problems on Earth.

Bezos has responded by claiming that the space exploration program will benefit humanity in the long run by removing all polluting industries from the planet.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. CNN. "Exclusive: Jeff Bezos says he will give most of his money to charity"

  2. Forbes. "Here’s How Much More MacKenzie Scott Has Donated To Charity Than Ex-Husband Jeff Bezos."

  3. The Giving Pledge.

  4. Bezos Earth Fund.

  5. "Amazon's 2021 Sustainability Report," Page 10.

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.