Amazon’s Jeff Bezos asks for philanthropic ideas, gets plenty

Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is asking for ideas to help the world through philanthropy — and is getting an earful.

Bezos, whose estimated $72 billion net worth makes him the third richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine, sent out a “request for ideas” in a tweet on Thursday, saying he was considering “a philanthropic strategy” for “the long term.”

The billionaire said he believes his companies — including Amazon, the Washington Post and space firm Blue Origin — “are contributing to society and civilisation in their own ways.”

But he hopes to use some of his fortune “to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

The appeal came one day ahead of Amazon’s announcement it would buy US grocer Whole Foods Market, further expanding the realm of a business empire that includes retail, cloud computing, streaming video and more.

By early today, the tweet had generated some 18,000 responses, including a number of serious, whimsical or outlandish ideas.

“Childhood hunger in US is solvable problem. We can end it NOW. We have strategy and the track record,” one Twitter user wrote.

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