Jeff Bezos's Mysterious Philanthropy – Where Have the Millions Gone?

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It seems that Jeff Bezos doesn't have enough cash on hand or in his current accounts to fulfill the promises he made...

One of the wealthiest people in the world pledged to donate $100 million to Maui after the forest fires turned this paradise into a hell on earth in a very short time. However, five months after his commitment, the initially approved donation of $15.5 million hasn't reached where it was needed, and Maui officials are unsure where that money ended up.

Many who followed Jeff Bezos's divorce from MacKenzie Scott claim that he tried to emulate his ex-wife, a record-breaking philanthropist, to make the world love him (he has been characterized as one of the most disliked billionaires since his Amazon treats workers as disposable, a fact that has come into public scrutiny over the past few years). However, philanthropy seems not to suit him.


A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

The co-founder of Amazon grabbed global attention when he generously promised a $100 million donation for the Maui restoration. With an estimated wealth of $178 billion, he has so far only sent $15.5 million, and interestingly, no one, including local officials and nonprofit organizations, knows where this money has gone or when the rest will arrive. Bezos and his fiancée, for whom he left his ex-wife, Lauren Sanchez, donated $15.5 million through the Bezos Maui Fund, but the recipient of this donation has not been disclosed.

In contrast to MacKenzie Scott, his ex-wife, who has donated over $16.5 billion since 2019 and kept things crystal clear with a literal list of donation recipients on her website, Bezos seems unwilling to be that transparent. Someone wise once said that every good deed should be kept in secret, and this centibillionaire seems to have taken it perhaps too seriously.


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As Benjamin Soskis, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, noted, Amazon's co-founder likes "maximum publicity with minimum accountability." According to reports, Jeff Bezos's spokesperson stated via email that the remaining $84.5 million of the promised aid would be distributed in the "coming years, as further needs are identified."

Incidentally, Bezos and Sanchez are the richest residents of Maui and were very vocal on social media when the fires occurred, killing around 100 people and leaving thousands homeless. "Nobody heard anything," said Angus MacKelvey, the representative for West Maui, expressing disappointment with the lack of information and cooperation. "If they had just consulted with the community, with me or other representatives, we would have told them, 'Take your money and donate it here.'"

Jeff Bezos's former wife, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, donated five million dollars to a joint fund that has distributed around $40 million in aid so far.

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