Bezos awards José Andrés, Van Jones with $100M

Celebrity chef José Andrés and CNN political commentator Van Jones are the first two recipients of Jeff Bezos’s new philanthropic award, giving both men $100 million to put towards any charity or nonprofit of their choice.

Bezos introduced the initiative, dubbed the “Courage and Civility Award,” on Tuesday, after completing a successful trip to the edge of space on a capsule and rocket developed by his company, Blue Origin.

The billionaire founder of both Amazon and Blue Origin said the award is meant to recognize “leaders who aim high, and who pursue solutions with courage and who always do so with civility.”

Both Jones and Andrés will receive $100 million to put towards towards charitable causes. 

“We need unifiers and not vilifiers. People who argue hard and act hard for what they truly believe, but they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. And unfortunately we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models,” Bezos added.

Jones is the founder of Dream Corps, a nonprofit focused on bipartisan solutions for criminal justice reform. 

“I know that Van Jones is going to do something amazing with that $100 million. I don’t know what yet, I bet he doesn’t know what yet, but it’s in your hands, Van Jones. However you’re going to do it, it’s gonna work,” Bezos said.

Bezos said the transformation in Jones’s life story is “unbelievable and profound and inspiring.”

Jones delivered emotional remarks upon receiving the award, in which he thanked Bezos for betting on him.

Bezos then announced the second recipient of his new award, Andrés, who is a celebrity chef and founder of World Central Kitchen.

“I’m so honored, really grateful for this award and the incredible support from you, Jeff, from the entire Bezos family. World Central Kitchen was born from the simple idea that food has the power to create a better world. A plate of food is a plate of hope, it is the fastest way to rebuild life and communities. And this award itself cannot feed the world on its own, but this is the start of a new chapter for us,” Andrés said.

“I always say that I believe in longer tables, not higher walls. So, you know, Jeff, let’s go and let’s feed the world,” he added.

Tags Jeff Bezos Jose Andres Van Jones
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