With an estimated net worth exceeding $110 billion, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is currently ranked as the richest person in the world. Unlike many other billionaires, though, Bezos worked to achieve this accolade. In 1994, he founded Amazon using investment capital provided by his parents’ retirement savings. Today, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, generating more than $136 billion in annual sales.
Now that Bezos has surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person, many people are wondering what’s next for the tech-savvy entrepreneur. As explained by NY Times, Bezos has his eyes set on philanthropy.
In May 2017, Bezos announced plans to integrate a homeless shelter into Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Under this change, approximately half of the building’s space will be renovated with private rooms to support 220 homeless individuals and their pets. While the renovation is still ongoing, Bezos expects the project to be complete by 2020.
Like many major metropolitan U.S. cities, homelessness is a serious problem in Seattle. Statistics show that more than 10,000 people live on the streets or in homeless shelters in Seattle King County. Bezos’ plan to integrate a homeless shelter into Amazon’s Seattle headquarters will undoubtedly curb these numbers. Most importantly, though, it will pave the way for other companies to perform their own philanthropic work.
The proposed homeless shelter is just the tip of the iceberg regarding Bezos’ philanthropy. In June 2017, he asked for philanthropy ideas on Twitter. In his post, Bezos cited his work with the homeless shelter’s construction but explained that he wants to make an “urgent and lasting” impact. In response to this request, more than 50,000 users have provided Bezos with ideas through his Twitter account.
Of course, Bezos has performed philanthropic work in the past. In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to support a referendum for same-sex marriage. In January 2018, he and his wife donated $33 to the college scholarship fund TheDream.US. Bezos has also funded projects such as the Bezos Center for Innovation, the Bezos Family Foundation and the Bezos Center for Neutral Circuit Dynamics.
So, what’s next for the Amazon CEO and founder? Only time will tell, but it’s apparent that Bezos wants to make a positive impact with the wealth he’s earned. And with $110 billion to his name, he has plenty of options on the table.