Bezos, Sanchez to donate $100 million to Maui for restoration efforts
Aug 11, 2023, 6:47 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2023, 1:39 pm
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and his fiancée Lauren Sanchez announced online Friday they will donate $100 million to help restore the Hawaiian island of Maui as deadly wildfires have devastated the area.
Sanchez wrote in an Instagram post Friday that the pair are “heartbroken” by the recent events in the state and are creating a fund to “help Maui get back on its feet now and over the coming years.”
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Bezos owns an estate on La Perouse Bay at the southern tip of Maui. His net worth is approximately $163 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a public health emergency for the entire state of Hawaii “to address the health impacts of the wildfires.” President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster, allowing federal funds to be used to assist in the state’s recovery efforts.
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Officials have confirmed 67 deaths in Maui, but the death toll is expected to increase further. The fire is the deadliest since the 2018 Camp Fire in California, which killed at least 85 people in Paradise.
The wildfires have cost at least $1.3 billion in damage to at least 3,088 residences.
Bezos previously told CNN last year he plans to give away the majority of his net worth during his lifetime, with an emphasis on fighting climate change and supporting efforts that help heal social and political divisions.
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The donation was announced a day after reports surfaced he is buying an estate on an exclusive man-made barrier island in Miami known as “Billionaire Bunker,” where he will be neighbors with a growing list of celebrities including former NFL quarterback Tom Brady, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.
The 59-year-old billionaire is paying $68 million for the three-bedroom, waterfront home, which sits on 2.8 acres, Fortune magazine and Bloomberg reported. The Amazon founder stepped down as CEO in 2021 to devote more time to philanthropy and other projects.
Contributing: The Associated Press