After returning from his much-publicised trip to the ‘edge of space’ in his rather interestingly shaped Blue Origin spacecraft, Bezos announced at a press briefing that José Andrés would be the recipient of $100 million as part of a newly created Courage and Civility Award, which recognises people who are working on solutions to global problems.
World Central Kitchen was founded by Andrés in 2010, and has since served millions of meals to people in need, especially in crisis situations. The organisation is currently providing food relief in flood-hit regions of western Germany, and recently responded to relief and recovery efforts at the building collapse site in Miami, Florida.
“I’m really grateful for this award, and the incredible support from Jeff and the entire Bezos family,” said Andrés in a statement. “World Central Kitchen was born from the simple idea that food has the power to create a better world. A plate of food is a plate of hope… it’s the fastest way to rebuild lives and communities.”
The fund of $100 million is entirely for Andrés to distribute as he sees fit.
“They can give all to their own charity or they can share their wealth. It’s all up to them,” said Bezos.
“This award itself cannot feed the world on its own. But this is the start of a new chapter for us—it will allow us to think beyond the next hurricane to the bigger challenges we face. People of the world: now is the time to think really big, to solve hunger with the fierce urgency of now,” said Andrés in his statement.
The award, while extremely useful to WCK, will also serve as some welcome good PR for Bezos, who has been subject to criticism for his ‘billionaires’ space race’ endeavours. Upon returning from space, the richest man in the world thanked Amazon workers and customers for making his trip possible, saying “you paid for this”.
A substantial donation of $100 million to World Central Kitchen is one endeavour that Amazon workers and customers will be proud they paid for.