Jeff Bezos is ending the year as the richest man alive with a net worth of $184.3 billion as of Dec. 14, according to Forbes. The Amazon founder and CEO has added to his fortune substantially amid the pandemic as Americans turned to e-commerce more than ever to do their shopping. Between mid-March and mid-October, Bezos got $90.1 billion richer — a 79.8% increase in his wealth, USA Today reported.
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But as Bezos’ wealth surged, he also faced criticism over alleged shortcomings in protections for Amazon frontline workers amid the pandemic. Still, he clearly is finishing off 2020 on top. Take a look back at Bezos’ extremely lucrative year.
February: Bezos Buys Record-Breaking Los Angeles Real Estate
Bezos kicked 2020 off by purchasing a $165 million Beverly Hills mansion, Bloomberg reported. The sale price of the 9-acre property set a record for a Los Angeles-area home.
February: Bezos Commits $10 Billion To Fighting Climate Change
Bezos announced on Instagram on Feb. 17 that he was launching the Bezos Earth Fund.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” he wrote. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. […] I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer.”
April: Bezos Donates $100 Million to Food Banks
On April 2, Bezos announced in an Instagram post that he was donating $100 million to Feeding America, a nonprofit that oversees a national network of food banks and food pantries.
“Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly,” he wrote. “Today, I want to support those on the front lines at our nation’s food banks and those who are relying on them for food with a $100 million gift to @FeedingAmerica.”
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April: Bezos Tops Forbes’ Billionaires List for the Third Year in a Row
When Forbes released its 2020 World’s Billionaires List, Bezos was in the top spot once again — and that’s despite giving $36 billion worth of his Amazon stock to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, as part of their divorce settlement in 2019. At the time the list was released, Bezos was worth $113 billion. Bill Gates was in a distant second place with a net worth of $98 billion.
July: Bezos’ Net Worth Reaches Record-Breaking Heights
In early July, Bezos’ net worth reached nearly $172 billion — a new record for the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
July: Bezos Testifies During Congress Antitrust Hearing
On July 29, Bezos, along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, appeared before Congress in a hearing concerning their possible abuses of power within the online marketplace. During the hearing, Bezos acknowledged that Amazon may have improperly used third-party seller data to inform its own product decisions, CNN reported.
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August: Bezos’ Net Worth Reaches $200 Billion
Bezos set another record for wealth on Aug. 26 when his net worth surpassed $200 billion, CNN reported. At the time, Amazon shares were up 86% for the year, bringing Bezos’ net worth to $202 billion.
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October: Bezos Opens His First Free Preschool
Bezos took to Instagram in late September to announce that his first Bezos Academy, a free preschool for underserved children, would be opening on Oct. 19 in Des Moines, Washington.
“This classroom is just the beginning,” he wrote.
November: Bezos Sells $3 Billion Worth of Amazon Stock
Bezos sold more than $3 billion worth of his Amazon stock during the first week of November, CNN reported. He did explain why he sold stock, but it was a good time to sell — Amazon shares were up 75% from the start of the year.
November: Bezos Announces $791 Million in Grants as Part of His Earth Fund
In a Nov. 16 Instagram post, Bezos announced that he had distributed his first round of grants from his Bezos Earth Fund to “16 organizations working on innovative, ambitious, and needle-moving solutions. This $791 million in donations is just the beginning of my $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and others. We can all protect Earth’s future by taking bold action now.”
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November: Bezos Gives $684 Million of Amazon Shares to Nonprofits
Bezos was feeling particularly generous in November. Just days after announcing his Earth Fund grants, Bezos gave $684 million of Amazon stock to nonprofits, Bloomberg reported.
December: Amazon Workers Protest Outside Bezos’ NYC Home Over COVID-19 Protections
On Dec. 2, Amazon workers and concerned community members gathered outside Bezos’ Fifth Avenue residence in New York City to call attention to the fact that he had made billions during the coronavirus pandemic while putting workers’ lives at risk, Fox Business reported.
In response, an Amazon spokesperson told that news site that “Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our people, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions.”
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