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After spaceflight, Bezos is donating $100 million each to D.C. chef José Andrés, Van Jones

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 6 days ago Don Parker/7News
Jose Andres standing posing for the camera © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.

After his flight into space, Jeff Bezos said he would be giving $100 million each to D.C. chef José Andrés and Van Jones, founder of several nonprofit organizations and a CNN contributor. 

In a news conference after landing, Bezos announced a new philanthropic initiative with a Courage and Civility Award to honor leaders who seek solutions with courage while remaining civil.

Andrés and Jones are the first recipients of the award, Bezos said. They can use the money for any charity or nonprofit they choose, he said.

“They can give all to their own charity or they can share their wealth. It’s all up to them,” Bezos said,

"We need unifiers and not vilifiers," Bezos said.

"We live in a world where sometimes instead of disagreeing with someone's ideas, we question their character or their motives," Bezos said. "Guess what? After you do that, it's pretty damn hard to work with that person. And really what we should always be doing is questioning ideas, not the person.”

Jose Andres in a blue shirt © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.

Through his World Central Kitchen, Andrés has been bringing meals to people around the world after natural disasters. He owns restaurants in Washington, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Beach, Florida, Orlando, and New York City. 

'We can always give hope': José Andrés, organization help victims in Beirut, Baltimore 

Accepting the award, Andrés said he would use the money to expand the work and mission of the World Central Kitchen.

Chef José Andrés, former UMD, NFL star Vernon Davis help local eatery feed healthcare workers 

“This award itself cannot feed the world on its own,” he said. “But this is the start of a new chapter for us. It will allow us to think beyond the next hurricane to the bigger challenges we face.”

'We feed anybody and everybody': José Andrés cooks into the night after chaos in D.C. 

“Sometimes dreams come true. The headlines around the world should be, anything is possible if you believe,” Jones said.

Jones said that Bezos told him in advance that he would be giving him the award. “He said that he thought that my attempts to try to bring people together across party lines, across racial lines had been inspiring, and can I use some more support.”

Jones and his nonprofit Dream Corps have been credited with playing an instrumental role in getting The First Step Act passed by Congress in 2018. The act helped rewrite federal prison laws as part of a criminal justice reform that found support from both sides of the aisle.

President Barack Obama awarded Andrés with a National Humanities Medal for his work with World Central Kitchen in a White House ceremony in 2016.

a pitcher throwing a ball on a baseball field © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.

Andrés also received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the James Beard Foundation in 2017.

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