On Thursday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted out a request for ideas on how to use his billions of dollars to help the world.
The multibillionaire, whose company announced it would buy Whole Foods on Friday, wrote:
This tweet is a request for ideas. I'm thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time — working on the long term. For philanthropy, I find I'm drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now. As one example, I'm very inspired and moved by the work done at Mary's Place here in Seattle. I like long-term — it's a huge lever: Blue Origin, Amazon, Washington Post — all of these are contributing to society and civilization in their own ways. But I'm thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact. If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea ( and if you think this approach is wrong, would love to hear that too).
After Amazon announced on Friday it would buy Whole Foods, Bezos's net worth jumped $2.5 billion, according to Forbes, making him the world's second-richest person with a net worth of more than $84 billion.
Immediately after he made his request on Twitter, ideas began flowing in. People suggested Bezos donate to charities that help homeless LGBT youth...
...or support girls' education.
or help libraries.
Other suggested Bezos put money towards funding affordable housing for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and others in need.
Some proposed he help achieve criminal justice reform.
One organization thought the Amazon CEO should help, well, the Amazon.
At least one person thought Bezos could help end school lunch debt...
...and pay off student loans.
Then there's the issue of LGBT youth suicide.
Or Bezos could simply give cash directly to the poor and let them decide how to spend it, an idea that has support among many charity experts.
Some suggested using technology to effect change in the world, such as building a charity accelerator...
...or bringing Amazon Web Services to Africa.
So, with all the world's urgent problems, how would you spend a fortune to make a difference? Let Jeff Bezos know on Twitter, and let us know in the comments!
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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