Jeff Bezos donates $100MILLION to the Obama foundation and asks him to rename the plaza at his Chicago presidential center after late Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis
Amazon founder and owner of the Washington Post 杰夫·贝佐斯（Jeff Bezos） donated a whopping $100 million to the Obama Foundation, the largest ever to the charity.
As part of the gift, Bezos asked the plaza at the Obama Presidential Center be renamed 约翰·刘易斯 广场, after the late congressman and civil rights leader who spent decades fighting for voting rights.
贝索斯, one of the world’s richest men, has made a series of high-profile donations since stepping down as CEO of Amazon in July, in addition to self-funding his brief jaunt into space on his Blue Origin rocket. 上个星期, he pledged almost $100 million to groups working to end homelessness.
在九月, standing alongside climate envoy John Kerry, Bezos pledged $1 billion from his coffers to fight 气候变化 through the Bezos Earth Fund foundation.
The Obama Foundation gift represents less than 0.1 percent Bezos’ estimated $210 billion fortune.
With Bezos naming the plaza after a civil rights icon rather than himself, the Obama Foundation said it was seeking to ‘change the paradigm around naming public spaces’ after the mega-wealthy donors that funded them.
‘We believe that there is incredible power in lifting up the names of extraordinary change agents upon whose shoulders we all stand, and we are thrilled by Mr. 贝索斯’ offer to name our magnificent Plaza in honor of John Lewis,’ said Obama Foundation CEO Valerie Jarrett.
A mockup of the Obama Presidential Center is pictured above
Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez are pictured at the Baby2Baby Gala in West Hollywood on Nov. 13
Former President and First Lady Michelle Obama are pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center on Sept. 28
'更重要的是, 先生. 贝索斯’ generous unrestricted gift will enable us to help train a new generation of leaders through programs including the Girls Opportunity Alliance, My Brother’s Keeper, and our Global Leaders Program, while also supporting the Foundation’s Hometown Fund, which invests in the expansion of economic development opportunities for residents of Chicago’s South Side.’
News outlet Puck reported that Obama press secretary turned Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs Jay Carney brokered the deal.
A protege of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis led sit-ins to integrate all-white lunch counters, was one of the original ‘Freedom Riders’ who integrated buses, and suffered beatings at the hands of white police and mobs. He died earlier this year.
‘Freedom fighters deserve a special place in the pantheon of heroes, and I can’t think of a more fitting person to honor with this gift than John Lewis, a great American leader and a man of extraordinary decency and courage,’ Bezos said in a statement.
After years of reviews, other delays and continued local opposition, the Obama Presidential Center broke ground this fall.
The former president in 2016 chose a site in Chicago in Jackson Park, a historic lakefront landmark, to build his presidential library, near where he began his political career, met and married his wife and lived with their family.
The former first lady grew up on Chicago’s South Side.
Environmental and community activists have been vocal in their criticism of plans to build Obama’s presidential center in Jackson Park (以上), a historic landmark
But the planning process hit numerous snags due to a legal battle with park preservationists and protests from neighborhood activists who feared the planned $500million center would displace black residents.
Obama has described the center as a hub for youth programming and public gatherings that will jumpstart the economy on the city’s South Side, parts of which are impoverished, by bringing attention, jobs and visitors.
A protege of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis led sit-ins to integrate all-white lunch counters, was one of the original ‘Freedom Riders’ who integrated buses, and endured beatings by white police and mobs.