Our Legacy

A Letter from Our Founders

Mike and Jackie Bezos pose with 2019 Bezos Scholar Jalan Drummond and educator Precious White-Jordan.

Young people are co-creators in powerful solutions every day. Their voices and actions inspire fresh insights, bright discourse, and sustained engagement.

The Bezos Scholar Program originated from a commitment to support and amplify youth voice and youth-led actions—particularly for students who have the ambition to create good in their communities.

We chose to kick-off the Program at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, because we saw the opportunity to introduce Scholars to leading thinkers, researchers, politicians, artists, and activists—including them in the dialogue that is shaping contemporary understanding and forming the future. While Scholars absorb and learn so much from this experience, the true benefit is to the Aspen Ideas Festival itself. One of the first places Scholars make their most profound impact is on Festival attendees—asking the best questions, surprising and pushing the experienced to think in new ways, and bringing new perspectives.

Upon arrival in Aspen, we ask all Scholars the same question: “What’s your big idea?” What are those ideas that keep you up at night and make your heart beat fast? What change do you want to see in the world?

The type of leadership that the Program seeks to develop is one that is thoughtful and catalytic—pairing student passion with true community needs. Scholars have taken on a diverse range of issues—clean water access, voter registration, STEM education, youth literacy, and more. Through their own community change projects they have followed through on influencing conversations and participating in meaningful service that contributes to a more informed and equitable world.

We could not be more proud of how the Bezos Scholars Program has developed, and the paths that our Scholars have taken. Coming from across the United States and Africa, Bezos Scholars create a momentous ripple effect of advocacy and positive change that is infectious. Their generosity of spirit and service, their ability to galvanize those around them, and their inclusive and discerning leadership leaves us inspired and hopeful for tomorrow. Young people can and do lead—and we are grateful to have played just a small part in elevating and reinforcing their sense of agency.

Jackie & Mike
Jackie & Mike