Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveils $2 bn fund for homeless, others

Bezos Amazon board visiting Washington but no headquarters announcement planned

The initiative will be called the Bezos Day One Fund, borrowing from Amazon's corporate mantra to approach tasks with the initiative of a startup's first day.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to launch a $2bn (£1.53bn) fund to help homeless families and launch pre-schools in poor communities. The fund will also launch and operate a network of high-quality Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion United States, says that he'll call it the Bezos Day One Fund. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession.

Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC's "Milestone Celebration Dinner" in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2018.

Mr Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter a year ago for ways to donate some of his wealth. At the time, he said that he was interested in funding projects to help people at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.

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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.

The Bezos Family Foundation, best known for supporting children's education, has been largely funded by his parents from Amazon holdings they acquired as early investors in their son's enterprise. 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.

As per the current Giving Pledge signatory, Bezos is not participating.

American billionaire philanthropy is spreading elsewhere. Some activists and politicians have partly blamed the city's problems on Amazon. Amazon warehouse employees are known to have terrible working conditions, pitiful wages, and have even been forced into homelessness after workplace injuries. Amazon is designating 47,000 square feet of space at its new corporate office for a permanent Mary's Place shelter.

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