Upon returning to the hard ground of Earth, billionaire Jeff Bezos announced that he was granting $100 million each to CNN contributor Van Jones and chef José Andrés to use as they see fit to fulfill their social goals, CNN reports.
At the press conference following his successful flight to the edge of space, Bezos said the grants were part of a “surprise” philanthropic initiative he wanted to announce called the Courage and Civility Award.
Andrés, a celebrity chef, founded the World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization that travels the world providing meals to areas hit by natural disasters. He’s dedicated his efforts outside the kitchen to promoting food independence in impoverished nations and areas in the United States.
Besides appearances on CNN, Jones runs the non-profit The Dream Corps, which encourages entrepreneurship and STEM education in underprivileged neighborhoods around the United States. His group helps to set up camps where children and adults can learn how to code, and it sponsors business start-up incubators. A former member of the Bill Clinton administration, Jones also leads an effort to promote criminal justice reforms on a bipartisan basis, garner support of people like Newt Gingrich and John Boehner.
“We need unifiers and not vilifiers,” Bezos said. “We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models.”