CNN commentator Van Jones received one of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ first ever Courage and Civility Awards.
Bezos announced the award Tuesday (Jul 20) after his suborbital space journey. The world’s richest man donated $100 million each to Jones and celebrity chef Jose Andres. He said the recipients are free to do “whatever they want” with the money, CNN reports.
“They can give it all to their own charity Or they can share the wealth. It is up to them,” Bezos said at a press conference after his trip to space.
The Courage and Civility Award is Bezos’s “surprise” philanthropy initiative, which honors those who have “demonstrated courage” and tried to be a unifier in a divisive world, Bezos added.
“We need unifiers and not vilifiers. We need people who argue hard and act hard for what they believe. But they do that always with civility and never ad hominem attacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this is too often not the case. But we do have role models,” Bezos said.
While accepting the award, Jones told Bezos, “You bet on me and I appreciate it.” Jones also added that it was money for him to “give to others who have a similar spirit.”
Anderson Cooper, who was anchoring CNN’s special coverage on Tuesday, said that the award announcement was a surprise, with no one at CNN knowing about it.