Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the homeless

  • Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the homeless

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the homeless

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he is giving $2 billion United States to start a fund that will open preschools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to non-profits that helps homeless families.

Mr Bezos asked on Twitter last year for suggestions on how he might use his personal fortune, which this year has soared due to Amazon's surging share price and U.S. tax cuts.

The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired pre-schools in low-income and underserved communities, he said.

"We'll use the same set of principals that have driven Amazon", wrote Bezos of the preschool management. Citing the Amazon mantra of customer obsession, Bezos said in a tweet here: "The child will be the customer". "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote saying Amazon employees around the globe will be wearing pjs to work to show their solidarity and support to children suffering from the deadly disease. The Bezos Family Foundation, which is best known for its support of children's education, has been largely funded by his parents from Amazon holdings they acquired as early investors in their son's enterprise.

As with most investment decisions by the Amazon founder, this one was likely grounded in data and science.

It's good that Bezos understands that there is a poverty problem, but by throwing his money at third-party organizations-and not focusing on fixing the systemic income gaps his company creates-he is only further proving the point of those who critique the tone-deafness of tech billionaires.

Gates did not fully throw himself into philanthropy until he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000.

As per the current Giving Pledge signatory, Bezos is not participating. Zuckerberg's shares in the social network are now valued at about US$61 billion.

American billionaire philanthropy is spreading elsewhere. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Bezos's personal wealth has soared with the value of Amazon, whose stock price has doubled over the past year with its expansion into new sectors and geographies. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary's Place to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. Amazon is designating 47,000 square feet of space at its new corporate office for a permanent Mary's Place shelter.