The Washington Post took a dive Thursday into the charitable giving of the 50 wealthiest people and families in America, revealing that many of them — like the paper’s owner Jeff Bezos — didn’t contribute “much, when accounting for their vast personal fortunes,” as the coronavirus ravaged the American economy and killed thousands.
The paper did not shy away from shining a critical light on its owner.
“Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man in the world with a fortune of $143 billion and who is also the owner of The Washington Post, gave $100 million to Feeding America and up to $25 million for All in WA, a statewide relief effort in Washington,” the Post noted. “For the median American, Bezos’ giving is the equivalent of donating $85. His aerospace company, Blue Origin, pledged to 3-D print face shields for front line workers but did not disclose the value of that contribution.”
The Post heralded only two billionaires for stepping “into the spotlight”: Bill Gates and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. While the paper highlighted Gates’ leadership during the crisis and the work done by his foundation, it noted, “In terms of donations from his personal wealth, for the median American donor, Gates’s giving to date equates to about $283.”
Comparatively, the Post found, Dorsey’s giving equated to $27,000 for the median American.
The 50 wealthiest people and families surveyed for the project have a collective net worth of nearly $1.6 trillion. Their publicly announced donations amounted to $1 billion or so, “which sounds like a lot of money but adds up to less than .1 percent of their combined wealth,” said the Post.
“More than half of these billionaires have publicly donated cash and a few say they have given something — money or in-kind contributions — but declined to specify how much. But almost a third have not announced any donations and declined to comment or did not reply to requests for comment,” it said.