Jeff Bezos Just Asked Twitter What He Should Do With His Fortune, And The Ideas Are Pouring In

The super-rich tech mogul is crowdsourcing philanthropic ideas.

Jeff Bezos, the super successful tech mogul who founded Amazon, is asking for advice: what philanthropic work should he pour his money into?

On Thursday, Bezos asked his 222,000 followers on Twitter for ideas on how to change the world "in the short-term," a different approach to the long-term philanthropic investments he usually makes. If anyone has money to spend, it's Bezos: according to The New York Times, the 53-year-old is expected to become the richest man in the world. He is worth an estimated $80 billion. 



"I'm thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact," Bezos wrote.

As Bezos noted in his post, Amazon had recently made a commitment to provide a homeless shelter on their new campus in Seattle, WA. The company has previously experienced scrutiny from the press for being less charitable than some of their tech competitors in the region: in 2012, The Seattle Times released a report which said that "Microsoft made a corporate donation of $4 million. Boeing gave $3.1 million. Nordstrom, nearly $320,000. And Amazon.com? Zero." 

Bezos' offer was greeted happily on Twitter, and in many ways is unique. Most wealthy philanthropists, whether they are business moguls or actors, tend to gravitate towards long-term problem-solving like fixing world hunger or providing clean water for impoverished nations. Bezos is interested in results in the here and now — an understandable goal, even if one that raises questions of sustainability. 

While Bezos didn't specify how much money he was willing to put towards an idea, responses started pouring in nonetheless. The tweet has over 7,000 retweets and more than 26,000 responses as of Friday morning.

One of the top suggestions was for Bezos to address homelessness amongst LGBT youth, who account for 40 percent of all homeless youth. Another user suggested he start a college with cheaper tuition, as many graduates are drowning in student debt. Jake Wood, the CEO of Team Rubicon, suggested he invest in the organization's mission: to repurpose the skills of military veterans to act as immediate responders during natural disasters.

Emily Dreyfus, an editor at WIRED, kept her request a bit more simple:

While some critics have expressed concerns about crowdsourcing philanthropy, most people seem refreshed to see one of the world's wealthiest people taking a novel approach to giving back. 

Cover photo: aradaphotography

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