Jul 14, 2021 - Economy

Jeff Bezos to donate $200 million to Smithsonian

Picture of Jeff Bezos

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will donate $200 million to the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The Smithsonian said the sum represents the largest donation to the institution since its founding gift from James Smithson in 1846.

By the numbers: Of the total, $70 million will support museum renovations and $130 million will help establish an education center to be named the Bezos Learning Center.

The big picture: This is not the first time Bezos has donated to the Smithsonian. He was a founding donor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and has made past contributions to the Air and Space Museum.

What they're saying: "Almost 175 years ago, Mr. Smithson’s inaugural gift laid the groundwork for this innovative approach, bringing together private philanthropy and public funding. Today, as we emerge from a pivotal moment in history, Jeff’s donation builds on that original tradition and will help us reimagine and transform the Smithsonian," said Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch.

  • "This historic gift will help the Smithsonian achieve its goal of reaching every classroom in America by creating a world-class learning center with access and inspiration at its heart," he added.
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