Science

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos launches $2bn homeless fund

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos launches $2bn homeless fund”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, said Thursday he was creating a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities, committing an initial $2 billion to the cause.

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's Forum on Leadership in Dallas, Texas, U.S., April 20, 2018.

One part of the effort, dubbed the "Day 1 Families Fund", will give money to non-profit organizations that are "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families", Bezos's message stated.

There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in "underserved" communities, he said. 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.

Bezos's wealth has allowed him to pay for side ventures, including starting space exploration company Blue Origin and buying the Washington Post newspaper.

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

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 had previously been critiqued for not making his philanthropic mark like other billionaires, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally.

An Amazon spokesman didn't have details on who would run Bezos' new initiative, or where the group would be based. As per the current Giving Pledge signatory, Bezos is not participating.

Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and a year ago acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

Amazon has a history of supporting homeless programs in Seattle.



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