Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, is one of the world’s wealthiest people. With a net worth of approximately $84 billion, Jeff Bezos is certainly a man with a lot of money to give. And, although he has given a fair amount of money to charitable causes, he still feels that he could do more. That is why, just recently, he took to social media in an attempt to crowdsource a solution to his philanthropic problem.
Last week, Jeff Bezos published a tweet asking all of his 200,000+ followers for advice and strategies on how to concentrate his philanthropic efforts so that they may have an immediate, or “short-term,” impact. He mentioned that he believes that he has invested in philanthropic endeavors through his multiple companies, Amazon, Blue Origin and The Washington Post, which contribute to society in “their own ways.”
But Bezos, who has been scolded in the past by news outlets for not being as philanthropic as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffett, is looking to invest in opportunities that will improve the lives of others instantly. His request for suggestions on Twitter earned more than 40 thousand responses. Suggestions ranged everywhere from donating to libraries to funding wildlife preservation. Bezos’ request was so popular that he was able to gain the attention of celebrities. World-famous singer Madonna had replied to Bezos by asking that they both take a trip to Detroit, her home city, and fund various projects and institutions there in order to improve the hurting city.
I feel that we need to take a step back and truly appreciate what is happening here. We live in a day and age where one of the world’s richest and most hard-to-access people is asking hundreds of thousands of strangers for advice on how to better our world. And through the power of social media, average, everyday citizens can respond to him. This would not have been possible 15 years ago. While many have condemned social media for creating a generation of narcissistic, uninterested and unmotivated teens, we sometimes fail to remember how much good it can bring.
Whether or not Bezos actually takes any of the suggestions and moves forward with them remains to be seen, but the fact that this is even possible is worth more than some of us realize. Instead of complaining about the negatives of the age in which we live, let us practice gratitude (see my earlier post on this topic) and appreciate the advances that come with time.