Over the last several years, MacKenzie Scott, formerly Bezos, has made a name for herself as a philanthropist committed to giving away large gobs of money. Last June, for example, she donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, and on Thursday, Communities in Schools, a network of nonprofits that work in 2,900 “high-poverty” K-12 schools across the country, said that the national office and its affiliates had received a cool $133.5 million from the former first lady of Amazon. The most recent donation brings Scott’s total giving since her 2019 divorce to at least $8.6 billion to worthy causes. It also brings up the uncomfortable fact that, by comparison and as a proportion of his wealth, Jeff Bezos is kind of a cheapskate!
According to Forbes, while Scott has a net worth of roughly $46.7 billion and has given away approximately 18% of that, Jeff Bezos’s net worth clocks in at around $164.8 billion, of which he’s reportedly given away just $2.1 billion, or a measly 1%. And while $2 billion is nothing to sniff at, it’s a pretty lame amount of money given Bezos’s title as richest person in the world (according to Forbes; Bloomberg claims the Amazon founder is only the second richest person in the world, and maybe that makes him sad).
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Of course, Bezos’s relative miserliness shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever listened to anything he says. In 2018, amidst substantiated reports that Amazon employees were effectively forced to skip bathroom breaks out of fear “of being disciplined for idling and losing their jobs as a result,” and data showing that nearly one in three Amazon employees in Arizona were relying on food stamps, Bezos sincerely claimed during an interview that he couldn’t think of a good way to spend his vast fortune outside of funding his rocket ship company. (“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” he told Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner. “That is basically it.… I am currently liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time. Because you’re right, you’re not going to spend it on a second dinner out.”) Just one month after that, Amazon helped kill a proposed $275-per-employee tax for large Seattle-based businesses that would have helped to alleviate the city’s serious homeless problem caused in part by companies like…Amazon. Other things Bezos has said about charitable giving include, “Our core business activities are probably the most important thing we do to contribute” and “I’m convinced that in many cases, for-profit models improve the world more than philanthropy models, if they can be made to work.”
Bezos, of course, is not a fan of questions surrounding his charitable donations or lack thereof. After The New York Times suggested a few years back that he was a real tightwad, he announced that he would donate $2 billion to philanthropic ventures. Which, if Scott were a lesser person, might look at and ask, “Where’s the rest of it?” If he couldn’t afford it then, he can definitely afford it now!
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Rotterdam is dismantling a bridge so Jeff Bezos’s superyacht can fit under it
That’s apparently just the sort of thing cities do for you when your net worth dwarfs that of several small countries combined:
Part of a historic bridge in the Netherlands will be dismantled so that a superyacht built for Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, can pass through the river that flows through Rotterdam, the city said on Thursday. The middle part of the 95-year-old Koningshaven Bridge would be removed this summer so that the sailing yacht could pass, a spokeswoman for the city of Rotterdam said. The bridge, known locally as “De Hef,” will then be restored, potentially on the same day. The structure is more than a bridge to the people of Rotterdam, said Siebe Thissen, the author of the book The Boy Who Jumped From the Bridge, about a working-class man who jumped from the bridge in 1933. “It’s a monument,” he said. “It’s the identity of Rotterdam.”
When city officials tried to take the bridge down in the 1990s, since it was not longer in use, there were major protests, he said. The bridge is a reminder of the old days in Rotterdam, he said. “I think that’s why there is so much turmoil about Jeff Bezos and his boat,” he said, before referring to accusations against Amazon. “People say, ‘Why this guy?’ It’s a working-class town, and they all know that Jeff Bezos, of course, he exploits his workers, so people say, ‘Why should this guy be able demolish the bridge for his boat?’”