Jul 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bezos unveils $100 million awards to Van Jones and José Andrés

eff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk leave Blue Originâs New Shepard crew capsule after landing on July 20, 2021
Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk leave Blue Originâs New Shepard crew capsule after landing on July 20, 2021. Photo: Blue Origin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Jeff Bezos awarded CNN commentator Van Jones and chef José Andrés $100 million each on Tuesday as part of a new initiative called the "courage and civility award."

Driving the news: Jones and Andrés will be able to give the award money to a charity of their choice, Bezos said during a press conference to commemorate Blue Origin's trip to space. The Amazon founder suggested he could hand out more awards in the future.

  • "It's easy to be courageous, but also mean. Try being courageous and civil. Try being courageous and a unifier. That's harder and way better [and] it makes the world better," Bezos said while announcing the award.

Catch up quick: Jones is a CNN commentator and criminal justice system reform advocate. Andrés, a celebrated chef, is the founder of World Central Kitchen.

What they're saying: "You take people on frontlines and their wisdom and their genius and their creativity, and you give them a shot," Jones said.

  • "They're not just gonna turn around neighborhoods, they're gonna turn around in this nation. That's what's going to happen, and I appreciate you for lifting the ceiling off of people's dreams."
  • "This award itself cannot feed the world on its own. But this is the start of a new chapter for us," Andrés said.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to correct a quote by Jose Andrés.

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