Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the launch of a new $2 billion charitable fund Thursday, focused on fighting homelessness and providing quality education.
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.
The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.
Bezos, now the world's richest person, asked Twitter followers a year ago for ideas about how he should shape his "philanthropy strategy".
Bezos's fortune comes mainly from his stake in Amazon, the diversified online firm which briefly hit $1 trillion in market value this month and is the second most valuable company after Apple. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the money will all come from Bezos, though there are few details about how the fund will operate. "The child will be the customer".
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The $2 billion initiative, while significant, is far less than the philanthropic efforts of other billionaires including Microsoft's Bill Gates, who has donated tens of billions to his foundation, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who has pledged to donate 99 percent of his shares in the social media giant to an organization focused on public good.
Bezos's wealth has allowed him to pay for side ventures, including starting space exploration company Blue Origin and buying the Washington Post newspaper.
Until now, Bezos has made only small initial steps into giving. In the summer of 2017, Bezos tweeted a request from the masses for philanthropic ideas "at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact". In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million USA in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
So, Jeff, from one member of the human species to another, I implore you to not only engage in philanthropy but also try to understand how you can fix Amazon's problems to set a better example.