Read Jeff Bezos' full statement about his $2 billion Day One fund

Gwen Vasquez
September 14, 2018

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

"We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon", Bezos wrote.

More than a year after putting out an open call for suggestions about what to do with his spectacular wealth, Jeff Bezos has come back with a decision.

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.

It's not yet known what his preschools will look like except that they will be based on the teaching philosophy of Maria Montessori, which focuses on play-based learning that caters to individuality and social-emotional development.

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Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy.

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. Naturally, it was easy for Sawant and others to target Amazon, but 500 businesses would have been subject to the tax, which is about 3 percent of the city's companies. City leaders quickly rescinded the levy.

"The answer is very simple", Bezos told David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club, when asked about the topic. Its vision statement comes from Mary's Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, run by his parents. "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. We will build an organization to directly operate these preschools. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators.

More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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