Jeff Bezos gives Obama Foundation $100M, names plaza in honor of late Congressman John Lewis
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Jeff Bezos gives Obama Foundation $100M, names plaza in honor of late Congressman John Lewis

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is giving $100 million to the Obama Foundation, the organization that’s constructing the previous president’s library — referred to as the Obama Presidential Heart — and that has a number of packages supporting up-and-coming leaders worldwide.

The reward is the biggest particular person donation made to the inspiration, and affords Bezos the chance to call one of the options of the middle. He has requested for the middle’s plaza to be referred to as the John Lewis Plaza, in honor of the congressman and civil rights activist who died final yr.

The news was announced Monday.

“Freedom fighters deserve a particular place in the pantheon of heroes, and I can’t assume of a extra becoming particular person to honor with this reward than John Lewis, a terrific American chief and a person of extraordinary decency and braveness,” Bezos mentioned in an announcement from the Obama Foundation. “I’m thrilled to help President and Mrs. Obama and their Foundation in its mission to coach and encourage tomorrow’s leaders.”

Bezos, who stepped down as CEO of Amazon in July, has in current years been constructing extra of a presence in nationwide politics. In 2013 he purchased The Washington Publish, and three years later he purchased a property in a swanky Washington, D.C., neighborhood that he transformed right into a residence. At a January 2020 party on the D.C. mansion, the friends included Microsoft co-founder Invoice Gates, Sen. Mitt Romney, and a few of former President Trump’s internal circle, together with Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway, in accordance with Politico.

Within the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Bezos was critical of Trump, saying that his rhetoric “erodes our democracy” and he supplied to ship him into area on one of his Blue Origin rockets.

The news site Puck first reported the reward, noting that Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vp of world company affairs and former Obama press secretary, helped shepherd the donation.

Bezos and Obama aren’t shut, however “have seen one another socially occasionally,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama Foundation CEO, informed Puck.

Bezos, who has a internet value of roughly $200 billion, has been stepping up his philanthropy after years of restricted giving. In 2018 he created the $2 billion Bezos Day One Fund to help individuals experiencing homelessness and fund early schooling. In 2020 he launched the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund.

Officers with the Obama Foundation referred to as out the importance of Bezos naming the plaza for Lewis, fairly than himself, which is usually the case when naming rights are given.

“With the reward from Bezos, the Foundation is in search of to vary the paradigm round naming public areas throughout the Heart, utilizing it as a possibility to offer donors the choice to honor and elevate the names of those that have fought for a extra simply and equitable world,” learn the assertion from the middle.

Building on the Chicago-based heart started in September and is predicted to be accomplished by 2025. Bezos’ reward was unrestricted and can be utilized for any of the group’s programming.

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