Jeff Bezos Launches $2 Billion Fund to Help Homeless, Start Preschools for Low-Income Communities

Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, launched a $2 billion fund to help homeless families and create a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.

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

The Bezos Day One Fund will focus on two initiatives, the billionaire announced in an online post Thursday. The first will fund existing nonprofits and issue annual awards to organizations doing “compassionate, needle-moving work” to shelter and support the immediate needs of young families. The second will operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship Montessori-inspired preschools. The fund’s vision statement comes from nonprofit Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” wrote Bezos. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

With a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon chief executive officer had been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy. His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon’s shares surged. Bezos’ relative silence was a stark contrast to peers like Bill Gates, whose foundation is the world’s largest, and Warren Buffett, who has vowed to give away the majority of his wealth.

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SOURCE: Molly Schuetz
Bloomberg