Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took some time off from being ribbed at the Oscars and purchasing pricey real estate to do something really big — announcing a massive private venture in the form of a $10 billion fund to fight climate change.
The mogul, the world’s richest human, announced Monday the launch of the Bezos Earth Fund, a global initiative that will bankroll “scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” He called climate change “the biggest threat to our planet,” in an Instagram post that said, “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. … We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”
Bezos’ net worth, which is tied to his holding in Amazon stock, is estimated to be as high as $130 billion. He said grants from the new fund will start to flow this summer.
According to website Recode, citing records from The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the only larger pledge of the 21st century was Warren Buffett’s promise to give the bulk of his net worth — that amounts to $43 billion — to the Gates Foundation in 2006. It said Bezos’ gift amounts to about 7.5 percent of his current net worth.
Bezos also owns the Washington Post and the suborbital-spaceflight-services company Blue Origin. And of course Amazon, and Amazon Prime.
At the Oscars last Sunday, comedian Chris Rock joked about his wealth. “When he writes a check, the bank bounces.”
“Like, Jeff Bezos is so rich, he got divorced and he’s still the richest man in the world,” Rock said. Bezos, who recently finalized a divorce with his wife, laughed gamely – sort of – from the star-studded Dolby Theater audience.
And he’s certainly sticking around Hollywood. Last week, he bought a $165 million estate owned by David Geffen and known as the Warner Estate.