On Tuesday, following a 10-minute journey to the edge of suborbital space on his privately-funded rocket ship, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos introduced that he’s bestowing the “Braveness and Civility Award” to chef José Andrés and Van Jones, political commentator and founding father of DreamCorps. The brand new prize “acknowledge[s] leaders who intention excessive, and who pursue options with braveness and who at all times achieve this with civility.” Every awardee will get $100 million to disperse to charities of their selecting.
Expectedly, Andrés will channel his share into World Central Kitchen, his charity dedicated to feeding folks throughout instances of catastrophe, together with the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
In an announcement, Andrés stated:
I’m so honored. I’m actually grateful for this award, and the unbelievable assist from Jeff and all the Bezos household. World Central Kitchen was born from the straightforward concept that meals has the facility to create a greater world. A plate of meals is a plate of hope … it’s the quickest technique to rebuild lives and communities.
This award itself can not feed the world by itself. However that is the beginning of a brand new chapter for us — it can enable us to suppose past the subsequent hurricane to the larger challenges we face. Folks of the world: now’s the time to suppose actually large, to unravel starvation with the fierce urgency of now.
The factor we wish to do is revolutionize catastrophe and starvation aid. Folks don’t need our pity, they need our respect … the least we will do is be subsequent to them when issues get robust…
Whereas a $200 million donation is nothing to scoff at and will definitely go to good use — particularly inside World Central Kitchen — the quantity is chump change to Bezos who, because the richest man on this planet, has a $205 billion web price. Not contemplating tax write-offs, the donations are collectively price .08 p.c of Bezos’s revenue.
The announcement of the brand new award comes at a time when Bezos is dealing with plenty of criticism, partially on account of his costly little area journey, but additionally due to the purported remedy of Amazon staff, particularly Amazon drivers and warehouse staff. As Lauren Kaori Gurley reported for Vice in Could 2021, “the truth that Amazon supply drivers pee in bottles and occasional cups of their vans shouldn’t be invented. It has been well-documented, and is a large speaking level amongst many supply drivers. It is among the most common issues voiced by the numerous Amazon supply drivers across the nation that Motherboard has interviewed. Supply staff, who drive Amazon emblazoned vans, usually ship as much as 300 packages a day on a 10-hour shift. In the event that they take too lengthy, they are often written up and fired.” Amazon can also be identified for its history of union-busting, in addition to its leaked campaigns to smear workers who converse out towards the corporate.
Does Bezos’s hefty donation to a worthy trigger assist negate his near-mythic place as an megalomaniacal enemy of the working class, an up to date — and Alexa appropriate — caricature of a grasping railroad baron? I believe not, but additionally consider that everybody (World Central Kitchen, included) ought to take his cash.