'I lost the ability to speak': Van Jones describes moment Bezos donated $100M

Business

CNN 20 July, 2021 - 08:29pm 55 views

Jeff Bezos followed up his 11-minute flight to the edge of space Tuesday with an extended press appearance in which he announced the gift of $100 million each to CNN political contributor Van Jones and chef José Andrés.

“They can give all to their own charity or they can share their wealth. It’s all up to them,” Bezos said, as he announced what he called the Courage and Civility Award.

“Sometimes dreams come true,” Jones said, adding that “the headlines around the world should be, anything is possible if you believe.”

Andrés, who started the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to feed those affected by natural disasters, said, “This award itself cannot feed the world on its own, but this is the start of a new chapter for us.”

Anderson Cooper, who has been anchoring CNN’s coverage of the flight of the Blue Origin spacecraft, said “quite a surprise. Obviously none of us knew anything about it.”

Later, Jones said that Bezos called him over the weekend to inform of his plans. “He said that he thought that my attempts to try to bring people together across party lines, across racial lines had been inspiring, and can I use some more support.”

Jones said that it was “money for me to give to others who have a similar spirit.”

“I really didn’t know what to say,” Jones said.

“You got people coming out of prisons, you have got people on reservations, you have got people in Appalachia, you have got people at the border, all people,” he added. “This country is unbelievable what people are doing, and how much heart they have and how much love they have. They don’t care about these things we divide over sometime and they need more support. If we can connect them with more resources, it is going to make a big difference.”

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Jeff Bezos grants $100 million in charitable donations to both Van Jones, José Andrés

The Denver Channel 20 July, 2021 - 11:01pm

Moments after returning from a brief trip to space on Tuesday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced he was giving away $200 million in charitable donations as part of a new philanthropic initiative.

Bezos made the announcement at a press conference following Blue Origin's first human-crewed space flight, which he was aboard. During that press conference, he formally introduced the "Courage and Civility Award" and its first two winners — CNN political analyst Van Jones and celebrity chef José Andrés.

Bezos said Jones and Andrés were chosen as the first two winners of the award because they are "leaders who aim high, pursue solutions with courage and always do so with civility."

He added that each man would be given a $100 million prize with no strings attached, though the intended use of the funds is for charitable and philanthropic purposes.

Bezos recognized Jones for his continued commitment to racial equity and his advocacy for criminal justice reform.

"I appreciate you for lifting ceilings off people's dreams," Jones said upon accepting the award Tuesday.

In addition to running a restaurant empire, Andrés is the founder of the World Central Kitchen, which provides meals in the wake of natural disasters worldwide.

Bezos, the world's wealthiest man, has faced criticism in recent days for making a tourist trip into space. Critics have argued that he could better spend his fortune solving real-world problems on Earth.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Bezos conceded that those critics were "largely right" but added that space travel and fixing the world's problems were not exclusive ventures.

"We have to do both," he told CNN. "You know, we have lots of problems here and now on Earth, and we need to work on those, and we always need to look to the future. We've always done that as a species, as a civilization. We have to do both."

Earlier in Tuesday's press conference, Bezos added that trips to space would allow others to appreciate the world better, particularly the atmosphere.

"As we move about the planet, we're damaging it," Bezos said. "It's another thing to see with your own eyes how fragile it really is."

Jeff Bezos Returns from Space and Donates $100 Million to José Andrés

Wine Spectator 19 July, 2021 - 11:00pm

Attention Restaurateurs: 2021 Restaurant Award applications have reopened for any 2020 winners that missed the deadline for COVID-related reasons.

"I'm really grateful for this award, and the incredible support from Jeff and the entire Bezos family," said Andrés in a statement. "World Central Kitchen was born from the simple idea that food has the power to create a better world. A plate of food is a plate of hope. It's the fastest way to rebuild lives and communities."

The prize is part of a newly created Courage and Civility Award that recognizes people who are working on solutions to global issues. Bezos also awarded $100 million to Van Jones, a CNN contributor and founder of Dream Corps.

Andrés, now a U.S. citizen, cooks at a high level of sophistication in the more than 30 restaurants he owns and runs with his ThinkFoodGroup. He founded WCK to respond to the earthquake that shattered Haiti in 2010. The organization earned global attention for its work in Puerto Rico, where it served more than 4 million meals after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. It has launched feeding missions in 13 countries, serving some 15 million meals and corralling more than 45,000 volunteers. Most recently, WCK team members have been helping flood victims in Germany.

"I'm just a cook," Andrés told Wine Spectator earlier this year. "But cooks know how to feed people. Our goal is to address the blind spots in the system. We are serving health care providers, hospitals and nursing homes, police, firefighters and National Guard troops, along with unemployed people, hungry families and the homeless."

Accepting the award from Bezos today, Andrés said the money will help WCK expand its mission, from responding to disasters to tackling systemic hunger. He said he wanted to see food aid around the world double and to change the way 3 billion people cook their food, noting that the pandemic and climate changes have left many people in hunger.

"We will be there with our boots on the ground when disaster strikes," Andrés said. "But we will shoot for the stars, fighting hunger and the causes of hunger."

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