Most people have heard of Jeff Bezos. If you haven't, we'd be surprised. His name is as recognizable as the companies he has created and led. Amazon is now the largest e-commerce company and Blue Origin is reaching new heights in space exploration. While most people give Bezos all the credit for his accomplishments, many question the role his parent’s played, if any, in helping him become the person he is today.
Before Bezos became the world’s first trillionaire (he has since dropped back down to being a billionaire in 2023), he was a young man with a rough idea about what he wanted his future to look like. It’s very likely that Bezos’s parents instilled a great sense of possibility in him at a young age. Who are Jeff Bezos's parents and how did they help him reach financial greatness?
Who are Jeff Bezos's parents?
Jeff Bezos was born Jeffrey Preston Jorgensen in Albuquerque, N.M., on Jan. 12, 1964. He's the son of Jacklyn and Ted Jorgensen. Jacklyn was only 17 years old when she gave birth to her son. She was still in high school at the time, while Ted was a local bike shop owner.
Bezos’s parents divorced four years after they got married. Jacklyn met and fell in love with Cuban immigrant Miguel "Mike" Bezos. Mike had a degree from the University of Mexico, which he used to become an engineer for Exxon when he moved to the U.S. He officially adopted four-year-old Bezos in April 1968 and brought him into the Bezos family.
What was Jeff Bezos like as a child?
As a child, Bezos had scientific interests and an innate proficiency with technology. His ability was fostered greatly by his adoptive father, who respected Bezos's technological intellect, even if he did misuse it at times. For example, Bezos once rigged an electric alarm to keep his younger siblings out of his room.
Bezos was a hard worker. When the family moved to Miami, he worked as a short-order line cook for McDonald’s during the breakfast shift before he went to school. He worked diligently through college. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a 4.2 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Bezos's degree was in electrical engineering and computer science.
Did Jeff Bezos's parents invest in Amazon?
In what could be the most successful venture investment ever, Jackie and Mike Bezos decided to help their son by investing in his fledgling e-commerce website. In 1995, Bezos went to his parents with a proposition to help him fund his new website Amazon.com. They lent him $245,573, which was an expensive gamble considering how new the internet was at the time.
Many years and decisions later, Bezos's parents have been rewarded for their leap of faith. His parents' $245,573 investment is worth nearly $958 billion today. Although Bezos has since stepped down from his role as CEO of Amazon, his parents likely collected a hefty fortune thanks to their generosity.
What is Jeff Bezos's parents' net worth?
According to Bloomberg's calculations from 1999, Jackie and Mike Bezos are worth somewhere in the realm of $30 billion due to their initial financial backing in their son’s company. Since then, the holdings haven't been disclosed publicly. Considering how much Amazon has made over the past year alone, their wealth has definitely increased.
Are Jeff Bezos’s parents involved in philanthropy?
The Bezos family has been known to give back to the public in some way. After all, philanthropy has a double benefit — it can be used to help people and receive tax breaks. In October 2022, the Bezos family committed a whopping $710.5 million to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Its mission is to help eliminate cancer and related diseases.
Bezos has also made it clear that he intends on donating most of his fortune during his lifetime.