This week, former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos led the first civilian space trip. For most people, that would be the highlight of their week. However, Bezos, the richest man in the world, is not "most people." After completing his historic space trip, Bezos gifted $100 million to CNN's Van Jones, so that he could distribute it to several different charities of his choice.
"They can give it all to their own charity," Bezos said.
"Or they can share the wealth. It is up to them."
Bezos did not only offer $100 million to Jones. The former Amazon CEO offered a "Courage and Civility Award" of $100 million to chef and philanthropist José Andrés. Each award is presented to someone who has "demonstrated courage" by being a "unifier" in society.
"We need unifiers and not vilifiers," Bezos added.
"We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models."
Jones was deeply moved by Bezos' gesture. In an emotional speech, the CNN contributor teared up as he thanked the billionaire for betting on his ability to distribute the award in a just manner.
“Lauren and Jeff don't do nothing small, man, they don't do anything small, they just don't do it. They dream big, they love big, and they bet big. And you bet on me, and I appreciate it,” Jones said.
“You have lifted the ceilings off of the dreams of humanity today. And that's an important thing. Don't be mad about it. When you see somebody reaching for the heavens, be glad, because a lot more heaven is up there to reach for. And we can do that together."
Bezos is not the only billionaire to distribute millions of dollars to social causes in recent months. His former business partner and ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, has donated more than $8 billion to social causes and HBCUs over the last 18 months. As a result, her name trended as Bezos' flew into space and presented his "Courage and Civility" awards.