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Bloomberg reports that Amazon founder-chairman Jeff Bezos said yesterday that he plans to give away the bulk of his fortune to charity.

Bezos is the world's fourth richest person, with a current net worth of about $123.9 billion - less than it was not that long ago, when Amazon's stock price was considerably higher.  Bezos made the comments just hours before Amazon announced that it will be eliminating some 10,000 jobs.

Some context from the Bloomberg story:

"This isn’t the first time Bezos has timed a big philanthropic announcement around a period of controversy. Last year, he sandwiched his 11-minute trip to the edge of space, which attracted criticism over his priorities, with news of hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts, including $200 million to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 

"Bezos, 58, has focused more attention on his philanthropy in recent years as he’s also assumed a much larger public role, acquiring the Washington Post newspaper in 2013 as well as luxury homes in New York, Los Angeles and Hawaii. A $500 million yacht he commissioned is under construction in the Netherlands, and he’s among those interested in bidding for the NFL’s Washington Commanders, possibly with music mogul Jay-Z as an investor.

"For years Bezos largely stayed on the philanthropy sidelines and drew criticism for not signing the Giving Pledge, a promise by many of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. Instead he focused on Amazon and funded Blue Origin, his for-profit space-exploration company.

"But Bezos has increased the pace of his giving after stepping down as Amazon’s chief executive officer last year. He set his attention on climate change with his $10 billion Earth Fund, which also aims to help restore nature and transform food systems. Bezos has said he plans to distribute the $10 billion by 2030."

KC's View:

Maybe Bezos is coming out what has seemed like the world's most public mid-life crisis … or maybe he's just a little embarrassed by his ex-wife's philanthropy.  MacKenzie Scott has given away some $14 billion to a variety of nonprofits since her 2019 divorce from Bezos, and she's done it in a unique way.  Her folks do their own due diligence, they send a check, they don't issue a press release, and they don't ask for anything in return.  The only way we find out about the donations, for the most part, is when the beneficiaries of her largesse make it public.