Amazon boss Jeff Bezos launches $2bn homeless fund

14 September, 2018, 04:00 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • “Never have I been more comfortable at an Amazon board meeting!” he wrote on Instagram

Bezos, the world's richest person, announced the launch of the "Day One Fund", which will begin with a commitment of $2 billion and will focus on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families and creating a network of nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities.

The fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing work to "move the needle" in providing hunger and shelter support to young families.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, just made a long-awaited announcement about what philanthropic causes would benefit from his enormous fortune - which has doubled in one year and is now estimated at more than $160 billion.

Earlier this year, under pressure from Amazon and other large employers, Seattle's City Council repealed an employee head tax created to provide housing and services for the homeless. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the money will all come from Bezos, though there are few details about how the fund will operate.

Bezos asked for suggestions for philanthropic focuses in a tweet a year ago. Its vision statement comes from a fundraising campaign, "No Child Sleeps Outside", for Mary's Place, a Seattle homeless shelter that Amazon donated more than 47,000 square feet of space to in one of its buildings and which provides a home to 200 women, children and families.

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Bezos is worth $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a sum mostly derived from the about 16 percent stake in Amazon that he owns.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, run by his parents.

It also falls short of the "giving pledge" initiative launched by Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who have encouraged wealthy individuals to pledge half their fortunes for philanthropy. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally.

Helping the homeless has also been a focus for Amazon.

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