Amazon has made CEO Jeff Bezos a lot of money. There’s no doubt about that. Now, he’s giving some of it back in hopes of seeing more military veterans in public office.
Billionaire Bezos has given $10 million to With Honor, a super PAC that advocates for veterans in politics. With Honor set a fundraising goal of $30 million by this coming election season. With their donation, Bezos and his wife Mackenzie have helped them get one-third of the way there.
While other American-made tech billionaires have chosen charities to hand their money to; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports improved global health efforts, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is committed to “supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning;” Bezos has long held out on creating his own charitable fund. He’s no stranger to political contributions, however. According to CNN, in 2012, Bezos donated $2.5 million to efforts to uphold same-sex marriage legality in Washington.
With $168 billion in the bank, Bezos is worth almost as much as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined. He says his chosen long-term investment are “contributing to society and civilization in their own ways.”
“I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact,” he posted to Twitter in June 2017.
Ellen Zeng, political director for the With Honor fund, told Reuters that the Bezos’ contribution was the largest they have received in 2018, and will be split equally between Democrats and Republicans.
According to the With Honor website, nearly 200 veterans are running for office in the U.S. House of Representatives. The super PAC has publicly endorsed 33 of the veteran candidates so far.
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Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos are With Honor’s biggest donors this year, but they aren’t the only ones. Jim and Alice Walton, children of Sam Walton of the Walmart corporation have contributed to With Honor, as have Bezos’ parents, Miguel and Jacklyn, who donated more than $1 million to the organization.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.