: Jeff Bezos makes $120 million mystery donation

United States

Jeff Bezos donated roughly $ 120 million in Amazon AMZN, -3.20% stock to a nonprofit organization, but the recipient of the money is a mystery so far.

In an SEC filing, Bezos detailed donating 47,727 shares on May 3 and May 4 to a “non-profit organization,” but did not list which group received the shares, worth just over $ 120 million based on May 3 and May 4 closing prices. The donation was first reported by Forbes.

Bezos’s most well-known philanthropic initiatives are the Bezos Earth Fund, which is a $ 10 billion effort targeting climate change, and the Bezos Day One Fund, which donates to groups serving families experiencing homelessness and is building a nationwide network of free preschools for low-income children. 

It’s not clear whether either of those was the recipient of the $ 120 million. A spokeswoman for the Bezos Earth Fund and Bezos Day One Fund declined to comment, as did a spokesman who handled inquiries about Bezos’s donation earlier this year to the DC Public Library Foundation. 

The Amazon shares aren’t destined for the Smithsonian Institution or the National Air and Space Museum, a spokeswoman confirmed. Bezos has pledged $ 200 million to help to fund a new Bezos Learning Center at the Air and Space Museum. It’s slated for completion in 2026.

Amazon and Blue Origin, Bezos’s space exploration company, did not respond to a request for comment. 

Bezos hasn’t mentioned any donations recently on his Instagram FB, -4.51% account, where he’s previously announced philanthropic activities. He also made a surprise announcement following his 2021 Blue Origin rocket trip about $ 100 million prizes to be awarded to chef José Andrés and CNN commentator Van Jones.

The mystery contribution is the latest example of a high-profile billionaire keeping philanthropy under the radar. Elon Musk donated $ 5.7 billion worth of Tesla shares to charity in 2021, but didn’t say where the money went. 

Bezos’s former wife, MacKenzie Scott, has been somewhat more public about the $ 12 billion she’s handed out over the past three years. But in her most recent update about her giving, she said she didn’t want to list the dollar amounts she had given to each group, because she wanted to reframe society’s definition of philanthropy. Scott later reversed course and said she would set up a database showing all of her grants.

Amazon shares have declined 36% this year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.02% has dropped 12% and the S&P 500 Index SPX, -1.65% has fallen 17%.