TACOMA, Washington — In July, the price of Amazon stocks soared, gaining 8% after a Goldman Sachs analyst released an increased price projection for the company’s stocks over the next 12 months. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon who owns more than 57 million shares of Amazon stock, experienced an increase in his net worth of roughly $13 billion. As COVID-19 threatens to send more than 500 million people into extreme poverty, what could a one day increase in Bezos’ net worth do for the world?
Many people who were vulnerable to food insecurity before are now facing an unprecedented situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resulting in them having even less access to the resources they need. The World Food Program estimates that COVID-19 could double the number of people that are severely hungry in 2020. The organization is attempting to provide meals for 138 million people with its budget of $4 billion. Jeff Bezos could double its budget by donating an additional $4 billion. This leaves $9 billion left from the one day increase in Bezos’ net worth.
One of the most vulnerable groups affected by poverty is children. It is essential that children have access to food, clean water and medical aid as they develop. Organizations such as Food for the Hungry recognize this and offer child sponsorship programs. With donations of $38 each month, Food for Hungry is able to help a child gain access to essentials. It also works to ensure the whole community is improved. About $2.2 billion could sponsor close to five million children for the next year. While still leaving $6.8 billion of Jeff Bezos’ net worth increase.
Beyond the essentials of food and water, it is important that children receive an education. A 2017 report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that 387 million primary school children will not achieve proficiency levels in math and reading. Strikingly, of these 387 million children, 262 million are in classrooms, but due to a variety of concerns, are still failing to meet proficiency levels. Education is one of the most effective and powerful tools to help people escape poverty.
School in a Bag is a nonprofit organization working to address poverty by providing young children with backpacks that include school materials, such as pencils, pens, a math set, a ruler, a pencil case, six notebooks, a water bottle and a LunchBox. By providing the necessary resources for a successful education, this organization keeps more students in school. It also helps improve the education that children receive. At £20 per bag, Jeff Bezos could buy all 262 million children who are in school but failing to meet reading and math proficiency levels, a backpack filled with supplies with his remaining $6.8 billion.
The Reality of his Philanthropy
As of July 28, 2020, Jeff Bezos has donated $125 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, primarily to Feeding America. Given Bezos’ net worth, that donation is equivalent to the median American household donating $85. With just a one-day increase in net worth, a small fraction of his total wealth, Jeff Bezos could help hundreds of millions of people gain access to water, food, education and essential medicine.
– William Dormer