In June, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos took the unusual step of turning to Twitter to solicit ideas for a new charitable project, a place to steer some of the billions that make him the second richest man in the world.
Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post and the Blue Origin rocket company and has a net worth estimated at $85.1 billion, has been improving his track record with philanthropy in recent years. As Quartz At Work’s Corinne Purtill noted in June, Inside Philanthropy magazine had described him as someone who believes in self-reliance, making him sound kind of Ayn Rand-ish, but maybe he’s having a change of heart and looking to now looking to help others, as soon as possible, apparently.
Well, Mr. Bezos, there may have been many decent options and worthy causes suggested to you among the thousands of responses prompted by your online crowdsourcing attempt. But, as is usually true, the best answer came from within: Yesterday, when news broke that Isa Dick Hackett, the executive producer of The Man in High Castle, an Amazon original series, had alleged she’d been sexually harassed by one of your top stars, Amazon Studios chief Roy Price, how you should spend your dough became clear: Help women’s organizations change the dynamics that make all of the Prices and Weinsteins and Cosbys and Trumps possible.
The cause fits the bill: it’s at the intersection of “urgent and lasting impact” you’re looking for, as the past year has shown us.
Don’t wait for another victim of abuse to beg you for help. Don’t wait for some executive to approach you at a party, where you’re surrounded by other professionals, and hear him make sexually suggestive remarks in your ear.
You can do this. After all, you’ve built several cutting-edge companies now, and by bringing in an investigator and suspending Price in the wake of Hackett’s complaints, you’re already sending a message that no executive who works for you is untouchable because of the power bestowed upon him by you and your companies.
Although we could supply a few choice names of nonprofits—like RAINN, Stop Violence Against Women, Equality Now, CARE, or the International Planned Parenthood Federation—we also think it might be enough to say that the general category you ought to focus on is right in front of you.
And remember that in doing so, in supporting women and girls, you will by default be supporting something that could benefit literally half the world’s people, before you even begin counting the men who are allies in the cause. That’s covering a lot of bases.