Amazon founder Bezos announces $2B charitable fund

14 September, 2018, 17:29 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Bezos to launch network of preschools 'The child will be the customer'

Now, Bezos has announced the Bezos Day One Fund, which he and his wife MacKenzie will use to fund existing organizations that help homeless families and to create a "network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities".

Earlier this year Amazon played a pivotal role in diminishing and ultimately defeating a Seattle business tax to fund homelessness services and affordable housing. The local leaders discussed their pitch for Amazon to come to their area. It seems that Bezos is attempting to quell that chatter as he announced the launch of the Day One Fund in order to start preschools and assist homeless families. The fund will be split between Day 1 Families Fund and Day 1 Academies Fund.

The second will launch a network of "high-quality, full-scholarship" preschools in low-income communities, which a Day One Fund organization will directly operate. The fund's vision statement comes from non-profit Mary's Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote in an Instagram post shared about 10 hours ago, explaining that every year, Amazon ties up with the American Childhood Cancer Organisation to raise awareness of childhood cancer, which is the second leading cause of death for kids in the United States between ages 4 and 14. "Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession", he tweeted.

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

The missive set off a frenzy of responses, including pleas to support health care, loan forgiveness and even offbeat appeals to back a leather fetish museum in Chicago.

Among the world's top tech CEOs, Bezos is not known for his philanthropy.

"People are interested in trying to help the world in so many different ways", he said. "They're still going to want a big selection".

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An Amazon spokesman didn't have details on who would run Bezos' new initiative, or where the group would be based.

"The media", Bezos added, "is going to be fine".

Research shows 90 per cent of a child's brain development occurs before the age of 5, yet most charitable gifts pegged for education target older children, according to Makdessian. "If you can give somebody a leg up when they're 2, 3 or 4 years old, by the time they get to kindergarten of first grade, they're much less likely to fall behind".

While the online retail giant's presence made Seattle the fastest-growing big city in the U.S., it also has taken a toll on its residents, driving up rent prices, clogging traffic and overwhelming public transportation.

Gates has also, with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, encouraged wealthy individuals to pledge half their fortunes to worthy causes.

American billionaire philanthropy is spreading elsewhere. Bezos was previously criticized for giving relatively little to charity.

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