Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches $2B fund for homeless, low-income families

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches $2B fund for homeless, low-income families

Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos on Thursday launched Bezos Day One Fund, a new philanthropic initiative, with an initial commitment of $2 billion to help homeless families and create preschools for low-income communities. Picture taken on April 20, 2018.

The Bezos Day One Fund will issue annual awards to organizations that are doing "compassionate, needle-moving work" to shelter and support the immediate needs of young families, the billionaire announced in a blog post Thursday.

The Day 1 Academics Fund plans to launch and operate a network of high-quality, free Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Bezos, with an estimated fortune of more than $160 billion, is now the world's wealthiest man, according to Forbes.

Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online book store more than two decades ago, has seen his wealth surge along with Amazon's stock. When Seattle passed a tax in May on large companies to fight the city's growing homelessness crisis, Amazon balked and even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its headquarters.

So, Jeff, from one member of the human species to another, I implore you to not only engage in philanthropy but also try to understand how you can fix Amazon's problems to set a better example. Forbes magazine placed him at the top of its list of billionaires for the first time this year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.

Amazon is designating 47,000 square feet of space at its new corporate office for a permanent Mary's Place shelter. Mary's Place motto is "no child sleeps outside".

In the education realm, Bezos is tipping his hat to the intensely private and media-shy Bezos Family Foundation that is run by his parents.

"Never have I been more comfortable at an Amazon board meeting!" he wrote on Instagram.

"We will build an organisation to directly operate these schools".

Last year, he donated $33 million to fund scholarship for "dreamers", the name given to undocumented children of immigrants who face legal obstacles in attending college or university.

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