Billionaire Jeff Bezos has donated a whopping $200 million to the Smithsonian Institution, the largest gift ever received since its creation 175 years ago.
Bezos’ money will go into boosting the institution’s National Air and Space Museum,
The Smithsonian said $70 million of the money would support museum renovations.
The other $130 million would go toward building a new education centre at the museum called the Bezos Learning Center.
The centre will inspire students to promote innovation and explore careers in science, maths and engineering.
“This historic gift will help the Smithsonian achieve its goal of reaching every classroom in America by creating a world-class learning centre with access and inspiration at its heart,” said Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch.
The donation comes as the richest man in the world by Forbes’ estimate prepares to fulfil his childhood dream of traveling to space.
Bezos, 57, will blast into space on July 20 when his space exploration company Blue Origin makes its first flight with a crew.
He’ll be bringing along his younger brother Mark, an investor and volunteer firefighter.
Bezos, a past contributor to Smithsonian museums, said in a statement that he wanted to support the Smithsonian’s “vital role in igniting the imaginations of our future builders and dreamers.”
“Every child is born with great potential, and it’s inspiration that unlocks that potential,” he said.
“My love affair with science, invention and space did that for me, and I hope this gift does that for others.”