Amazon's Jeff Bezos unveils $2bn philanthropic fund

14 September, 2018, 12:10 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Bezos Amazon board visiting Washington but no headquarters announcement planned

The move catapults the world's richest person into a rarefied group of billionaire megadonors at a time when his company, Amazon.com, faces growing scrutiny over its rising power and impact on the economy.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos says he will commit $2 billion to helping homeless families and starting preschools for low-income communities.

Bezos tweeted a statement Thursday that the fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families". "We will announce a decision before the end of this year", Bezos said. Amazon warehouse employees are known to have very bad working conditions, pitiful wages, and have even been forced into homelessness after workplace injuries.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to open and fund nursery schools in low income areas, promising that poor children would be treated like Amazon customers. "The secret sauce of Amazon - the number one thing that has made us successful has by far is obsessive, compulsive focus on the customer".

The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Last year, Bezos took to Twitter to request ideas for how he use his vast fortune for good.

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He has given $1.5 billion to Blue Origin, his company developing technology for space travel. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators.

He said he was supporting "American democracy through stewardship of the Washington Post" and pointed to the contributions he has given to cancer research, marriage equality and college scholarships for immigrant students.

Bezos said early childhood education is a critical area and that "the money spent there is going to pay huge dividends for decades".

Jeff Bezos' donation of $2 billion to his newly announced charitable fund clearly isn't chump change. However, he said it is unsafe for politicians to "demonize the media". "We're going to push through this".

The private non-profit foundation in its 2016 tax filing reported almost $46 million United States in assets, and giving away $30 million USA in grants support its missions in early education, K-12 schools reform and youth leadership development and scholarships.

Bezos, the wealthiest person on the planet, whose stake in Amazon is now worth about $160 billion, says he'll call it the Bezos Day One Fund.

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