Big Money

Jeff Bezos Gives $10M to MOHAI

Amazon’s founder donates to the history museum’s new South Lake Union site.

By Laura Dannen August 17, 2011

An architectural rendering of the new MOHAI Lake Union Park, to open in the fall of 2012.

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has donated $10 million to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), the largest gift in the museum’s 59-year history, MOHAI announced today in a statement. The money will go toward a Center for Innovation, to be built when MOHAI moves to its new site in the Naval Reserve Building in South Lake Union—just blocks from Amazon’s new campus—in the fall of 2012.

Slate magazine once dubbed Bezos (the 14th richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes.com) and his Fortune 500 company the New Scrooge for a lack of charitable giving, but it seems Bezos has loosened his own purse strings a bit.

“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," Bezos said in a statement. "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.”

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