Jeff Bezos, At Post-Space Flight Press Conference, Says He’s Giving $100 Million Each To Van Jones And José Andrés To Donate To Charities Of Their Choice

by 24USATVJuly 20, 2021, 6 p.m. 17
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Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, his brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas.

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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