The world’s wealthiest man and Amazon (AMZN) founder, Jeff Bezos has surprised CNN contributor Van Jones and chef José Andrés with an award of $100 million each.
He said the money is to be tied to a “surprise” philanthropic initiative he wanted to announce called the Courage and Civility Award.
This was revealed on Tuesday after flying to the edge of space. He said Jones and Andres were free to do “what they want” with the money.
“They can give it all to their own charity,” Bezos said at a press conference after his trip to space. “Or they can share the wealth. It is up to them.”
According to the billionaire the award is to honor those who have “demonstrated courage” and tried to be a unifier in a divisive world.
“We need unifiers and not vilifiers,” Bezos said. “We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models.”
Jones while accepting the award, said that sometimes dreams come true.
“sometimes dreams come true. You bet on me and I appreciate it. it was money for me to give to others who have a similar spirit.” Jones noted.
While Andrés, said “the award itself cannot feed the world on its own. But this is a start of a new chapter for us.”
Anderson Cooper had on Tuesday while anchoring CNN’s special coverage noted on-air that it’s “quite a surprise” after Bezos announced the award, noting that “none of us knew anything about it.”