Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has often been criticized for his company’s lack of contributions to the Seattle community.
But the tech billionaire took a step to correct that image today, announcing that he’s donating $10 million to create a new “Center for Innovation” at The Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. It marks the largest contribution to the museum in its 59-year history.
The museum is opening a new facility in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood late next year, just a stone’s throw from Amazon’s sprawling new headquarters.
Bezos said in a statement:
“Look at the disproportionate number of extraordinary organizations founded in Seattle – Microsoft, Costco, Boeing, Fred Hutch, PACCAR—even UPS was founded here. These companies and their innovations have had a big impact on Seattle, the country, and the world. There’s something about Seattle that has made it an unusually good place to innovate, and the MOHAI Center for Innovation will help Seattle continue on that course by showcasing and teaching how industrial innovation can play an important role in human advancement. New treatments, affordable flight, a computer on every desk — the core activities of these Seattle organizations have created benefit for people at home and around the world.”
It will be interesting to see how the museum treats the history of Amazon, which has certainly gone through some ups and downs over the years. And let’s hope that the new facility doesn’t get confused with the University of Washington’s very own Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
Bezos’ family has put some of the Amazon money to work in other parts of the neighborhood too, including a $10 million donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. According to Forbes, Bezos is the 14th richest person in the U.S. with an estimated net worth of $18 billion.