The Amazon founder, who has a net worth of around $137 billion, along with his soon-to-be ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos, gave over $2 billion to charities and nonprofits in 2018, reports the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The publication runs the Philanthropy 50 list, which tracks which Americans donated the most each year.
Bezos’s inclusion at the top of the list came as a surprise to many. Out of all the country’s billionaires, he has frequently been criticized for not using his wealth to support good causes in the past. But in 2017 Bezos asked Twitter for ideas on which causes he could donate some of his fortunes. It now looks like he took people up on some of their suggestions in 2018.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy says Bezos and his wife donated a bulk of their giving to nonprofits that help with homelessness and poverty. They also gave money to support funding preschool education in low-income communities.
Other tech luminaries that made the Philanthropy 50 in 2018 include Pierre and Pam Omidyar (eBay), Steve and Connie Ballmer (Microsoft), the late Paul Allen (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Facebook), and Craig Newmark (Craigslist). You can see the full top 10 list here.
One bit of disturbing news from all this is that the Chronicle of Philanthropy says that philanthropy from America’s wealthiest plummeted in 2018 when compared to 2017. In 2017, America’s wealthiest gave $14.7 billion to charities. In 2018, however, that number dropped to $7.8 billion.