I love Amazon and the Washington Post. I order from Amazon several times a week. I'm a regular reader of the Washington Post. But I have a problem with Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man. Unlike Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg, he is not a member of The Giving Pledge. In fact, Jeff Bezos gives hardly any money at all to charity. Why? What gives? What could possibly be his reasoning for hoarding $136 billion?
Public records recently revealed that Bezos has given just over $145 million to charity over the years. That is 0.10661764% of his fortune. That equates to roughly $90 per $100,000. By comparison Bill and Melinda Gates give 37% of their wealth to philanthropic efforts. Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg donates 13%. Even President Donald Trump gives more away than Bezos – 3%
This figure does not include the $2 billion pledge that Bezos and his estranged wife, MacKenzie, announced in the fall to issue annual awards to groups that shelter and feed homeless families with young children as well as setting up free preschools in underserved communities. Even if this $2 billion is included in Bezos' total, his giving is way way way below other wealthy philanthropists.
Amazon recently chose Long Island City, New York as the location of one of its two new headquarters. Queens City Councilman isn't thrilled with the move. He told the New York Post:
"It's not very encouraging. Bezos needs to be more philanthropic. The record of both Amazon and Jeff Bezos reveals that they are takers, not givers. When they make promises of how generous they will be, I look at what they have done in the past to know what the truth really is."
Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York also denounced the decision to put Amazon HQ in Long Island City. She took to Twitter and said:
"While I'm glad that Amazon recognizes that Queens is a great place to do business, I'm concerned about the lack of community input and the incentives that Amazon received in order to convince them to bring these jobs to New York. One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet."
Reportedly, Amazon will receive up to $500 million in tax exemptions and $3,000 per new job to put the headquarters in Queens. There are expected to be 25,000 new jobs created.