For four years, Lauren Sánchez has been quietly working behind the scenes to help Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, strategically give away his vast wealth to a variety of causes.
In an interview in Washington, D.C. home, Sánchez got candid about her philanthropic projects, space travel and what makes her relationship with Bezos work so seamlessly.
Last week the couple awarded country music legend Dolly Parton as their third-ever recipient of the Bezos Courage & Civility Award, a $100 million grant given to an individual they feel is trying to make the world a better place.
“The work that we’re doing with the Bezos Courage and Civility Award I think needs to have a voice,” Sánchez said. “And the people that we’ve chosen so far, Van Jones, Jose Andres, Dolly Parton, they all have such stories to tell. I just feel honored to be able to be a part of what they’re doing for this world.”
Sánchez, 52, a former Emmy-award winning journalist who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, cites her humble beginnings as why she wants to give back. The mom-of-three said she donated $1 million to This Is About Humanity, which helped build educational learning spaces for the migrant children at the US-Mexico border, and said she visited with migrant families on a recent trip to the border.
Sánchez also serves as the vice chair of the Bezos Earth Fund and traveled to Colombia and the Western African nation Gabon as the couple makes good on their $10 billion commitment to help Africa’s restoration movement, combat climate change and preserve nature.
Sánchez’ passion for giving back – whether by her efforts to create tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschools for disadvantaged children with the Bezos Academy, or writing a check to Parton – comes at a time when Americans are divided on many issues.
Sánchez and Bezos said they wanted to bring a “little bit of light” to the people who use unity instead of conflict to resolve issues. “We wanted to amplify their voices because the voices that are really negative seem to get amplified in this world,” she said.
When they aren’t working on their charitable initiatives, Sánchez says, they love to take to the skies closer to earth. A licensed pilot, Sánchez founded Black Ops Aviation in 2016, the first female-owned and operated aerial film and production company with a focus across television and film.