Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez Announce $100 Million in Funding for Maui Wildfire Relief

Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Buffett, and Nvidia founder Jensen Huang are among the many billionaires who personal land or properties on Hawaii’s second-largest island.

As Maui residents cry out for assist because of the wildfires, a few of the wealthiest landowners have stepped in or spoken out concerning the catastrophe.

Lauren Sanchez, Jeff Bezos’ fiancee and vice chairman of the Bezos Earth Fund, stated in Instagram posts and threads Friday afternoon that the couple is establishing a $100 million Maui Fund “to assist Maui get again on its ft now and for the years to return.” Wildfires broke out in Maui on Friday in one of many largest pure disasters within the state’s historical past.

Sanchez’s announcement comes a day after she wrote on Matters that she and Bezos “might be making donations to assist.” Oprah Winfrey, who owns greater than 2,000 acres in Maui, distributes pillows and different provides.

Different billionaires with properties or land on Maui together with Peter Thiel, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang and software program mogul David Duffield have remained quiet. A spokesperson for the Duffield Basis, which focuses its efforts on animal points, wrote to Forbes It’s “working with the Humane Society of Maui to alleviate the struggling of Maui’s companion animals” however didn’t specify the quantity of the donation or the motion.

Spokespersons for Buffett and Until haven’t but responded to a request for remark Forbes. Actual property billionaire Neil Bloom, who additionally owns land in Maui, couldn’t be reached for remark. An Nvidia spokesperson wrote that they won’t “announce plans by Forbes However he didn’t say whether or not that meant Huang would make an announcement or a donation.

Billionaires have been shopping for land and houses in Hawaii for many years, normally as trip properties. They’ve usually confronted criticism from locals for prime costs and never doing sufficient to provide again to the state or combine into society. As of Friday afternoon, greater than three days after the fires first broke out, most of Maui’s billionaire owners had not issued public statements or made public donations to wildfire reduction efforts.

Kāko’o Haleakalā, a Hawaii-based land conservation group that shared footage of Winfrey visiting shelters, questioned why different billionaire owners had not supplied related assist. Larry Ellison, Mark @shrugThe place are you!” the group captioned an Instagram put up highlighting Winfrey’s efforts. Whereas neither Ellison nor Zuckerberg personal property in Maui, they every personal 1000’s of acres on the Hawaiian islands of Lanai and Kauai, respectively.

Priscilla Chan, co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and spouse of Meta Zuckerberg founder, introduced in a Fb put up Friday afternoon that the couple had donated $400,000 to the Hawaii Group Basis and inspired others to comply with swimsuit. Zuckerberg and Chan beforehand donated almost $25 million to the Hawaii Group Basis.

Winfrey, one of many few billionaires to publicly provide help to this point, He was photographed Donation Emergency items equivalent to cribs and hygiene gadgets to shelters within the space. She additionally frolicked with a few of these displaced by the fires. stated a spokesperson for the previous discuss present host Forbes That Winfrey “will do extra, because it turns into clear which funds might be most helpful for rebuilding within the brief and long run.” It’s not clear how a lot Winfrey has donated to this point.

Golf model PXG, led by billionaire Bob Parsons, introduced Friday that it has donated $1 million to Group Rubicon, a veteran-led catastrophe reduction group. A Parsons spokesperson stated Forbes Late Friday, he and his spouse, Renee, acquired a house on the Large Island, and “a deep love for Hawaii and all its islands.”

Maui has roughly 465,000 acres of land. Hawaii Governor Josh Inexperienced stated Thursday that at the least 2,000 acres have burned, and it’ll take years to rebuild. Consultants imagine that dry circumstances and particularly flammable non-native grasses, mixed with wind gusts from Hurricane Dora a whole bunch of miles southwest of Hawaii, are spreading the lethal fires.

“Unquestionably,” Governor Greene stated, the harm is within the billions of {dollars}. Not less than 53 folks have died, and Maui County Sheriff John Pelletier stated the loss of life toll is predicted to rise. The city of Lahaina has been destroyed, and elements of the island usually are not accessible to restoration efforts.

Bezos, founding father of Amazon
And the third richest individual on this planet, he purchased a mansion close to La Perouse Bay on the south coast of Maui in 2021 for $78 million. Bezos Earth Fund Bezos has pledged to spend $10 billion over a decade to fight the influence of local weather change — steadily cited as a trigger behind Maui’s unprecedentedly extreme wildfires — he has but to situation any public statements and didn’t reply to a request for remark. In her “Themes” put up Thursday, Bezos’ fiancee, Sanchez, stated she and Bezos have spoken with native residents and officers to assist put collectively a donation plan. Up to now, Bezos has reportedly given L various Maui-based organizations, Mostly awarded in the single digit millions Together with a present (unspecified quantity) to the Hawaii Land Belief, which focuses on land preservation and restoration, however the $100 million fund could be the couple’s largest recognized donation to the Hawaiian trigger. Spokespersons for Bezos didn’t reply Forbes Questions.

Only a mile from the Bezos residence on Maui is a house owned by billionaire investor and tech entrepreneur Thel. Billionaire Jensen Huang, co-founder of graphics-chip maker Nvidia and the Thirty third-richest individual on this planet, owns an 8,000-square-foot dwelling close to wildfires within the far south of Maui. David Duffield – $12 billion co-founder of PeopleSoft and Workday
He owns two adjoining properties inside 1 / 4 of a mile.

Here’s a listing of Hawaii Public Radio routes Helping those affected by the ongoing forest fires.

Editor’s observe: This text has been up to date so as to add details about donations from Jeff Bezos & Lauren Sánchez, Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan, David Duffield, and Bob Parson’s PXG that have been introduced after the story was first printed.

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