SEATTLE (AP) – Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday he is giving $ 2 billion to launch a fund that opens daycare in low income areas and gives money for nonprofits that help homeless families.
Bezos, whose shareholding in Amazon is worth about $ 160 billion, says he will call Bezos Day One Fund. A spokeswoman from Amazon.com Inc. confirmed that the money will come from Bezos, although there are few details about how the fund will operate.
In a post on his Twitter account, Bezos said that part of the fund would provide money to organizations and groups that provide shelter and food for young homeless families. The second part will launch and run free preschools in low income communities where "the child should be the customer."
It is not yet known what his preschools will look like, except that they will be based on Maria's learning philosophy Montessori, which focuses on individual learning and social-emotional development.
Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookstore more than two decades ago, has seen its wealth increase along with Amazon's stock. The Forbes magazine placed him on top of the billionaire list for the first time this year, and surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.
Bezos wealth has given him the opportunity to pay for sidebusinesses, including the launch of space research company Blue Origin and the Washington Post newspaper.
By choosing to focus on his philanthropy on homelessness and early education, Bezos is likely influenced by both the parents' Bezos Family Foundation and its adopted hometown of Seattle, but mixed some native speakers feel about the city's growing crisis of affairs, largely attributable to for the Amazon success.
Bezos and Amazon have been criticized in Seattle for not doing more to help the needy and have become the focus of the blooming region's angry debate about traffic, housing prices and homelessness. When Seattle passed a large-scale company tax in May to fight the city's growing homeless crisis, Amazon collapsed and temporarily stopped construction planning at a new high-rise building near the headquarters. The city's leaders quickly removed the fee.
The battle disappeared many more locals on Amazon and Bezos, and also overshadowed the growing portfolio of philanthropy they had made in the city. The most remarkable that involves more than $ 40 million to the local nonprofit FareStart – a hospitality training program and restaurant business aimed at combating homelessness and poverty – and Mary's Place, which aims to find and shelter for each children.
In addition to millions in cash, both nonprofit organizations have been awarded first-rate real estate in Amazon's construction sites to do their work.
"He's a pretty amazing neighbor, he and MacKenzie," said Mary's Place director Marty Hartman. "Although he has a global vision, they really have a local heart."
In the education community, Bezos rejects the intensely private and media-shy Bezos Family Foundation, run by their parents. The Amazon army and his wife, who have four children, both serve as foundation board members.
The private nonprofit organization in 2016 tax report reported nearly $ 46 million in assets and surrendered $ 30 million in grants to support its assignments in early education, K-12 schools reform and youth leadership development and scholarships.
The foundation resigned to help Seattle when the city was working to launch its universal pre-K program in 2014. The foundation helped finance a failed trip to visit state subsidized model programs in Boston, New York and New Jersey, according to Tim Burgess, then a city council member who created Seattle pre-school program.
"Bezos Family Foundation – and Jeff obviously have a role in it – has been engaged in early learning initiatives for many years," said Burgess, adding that it could only contribute to the political impulse of universal pre-K, as the Seattle pre-school program also sometime on e-elections in November.
Bezos suggested earlier this year that he would undertake a big philanthropic project after asking Twitter followers for ideas on how to spend their money. In January, Bezos also gave personal $ 33 million in student grants for young immigrants living illegally in the United States.
Bezos has not yet signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Gates and encouraged billions to commit to giving away most of their wealth The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the world's largest private nonprofit fund have a capital of over 40 billion dollars and have long supported homelessness services for families in the city. Gates announced that it absorbed systemic poverty in the United States