Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gifted $99.2 million worth of Amazon shares last week to nonprofits groups, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings released on Monday.
It’s unclear if Bezos will publicly announce which nonprofits the donation went to. , A spokesperson for Bezos did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Since stepping down as Amazon’s CEO in July 2021, Bezos has accelerated his philanthropic efforts, landing him on the Forbes list of America’s top 25 givers for the first time. He has given away an estimated $2.1 billion over his lifetime, Forbes calculates,(not including this latest gift.) a sum that represents less than 1% of his estimated $181 billion fortune. As of the market close on Monday, Bezos is the third richest person in the world, behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk and luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault.
Oftentimes, wealthy individuals who own stock in large public companies will transfer ownership of shares to nonprofits instead of donating cash. Gifting stock lets billionaires (and other donors) avoid capital gains taxes that would have occurred if they sold the stock and then gave away the cash.
Bezos’s surge in philanthropy hasn’t gone without controversy. The billionaire donated $2.7 million to the D.C. Public Library Foundation in December, but ended up asking the organization to name its auditorium after author Toni Morrison instead of himself, the Washington Post first reported earlier this month, after the library received thousands of letters in protest. Bezos announced about $1 billion in donations last year, including $200 million over four years to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and $100 million to former President Barack Obama’s foundation.
By Rachel Sandler, Forbes Staff