AMERICA – The world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Inc’s founder, said on Thursday he will commit $2 billion to helping homeless families and starting pre-schools for low-income communities.
Bezos sourced for ideas on Twitter last year, for ways to donate some of his wealth. While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described on Thursday as an “investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure.”
He is the owner of The Washington Post, which has published several articles critical of the White House. This has put him at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The new philanthropic effort is called the Bezos Day One Fund, a nod to the executive’s management philosophy that organizations must view every day with the fervor of a new start, or face stagnation and decline. It will be used as an avenue to support existing non-profit organizations that offer shelter and food to young homeless families.
Bezos said in remarks to the Economic Club of Washington that it is “really really hard” for a child to catch up if they fall behind in their early years. The money will pay “gigantic dividends for decades.” He said he did not know how much money he would eventually give away.
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.
The Amazon chief’s wealth has become problematic for some.
Earlier this month, US Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, proposed a bill in Congress called the “Stop BEZOS” Act, which would make large corporations pay workers more or pay for public assistance programs like Medicaid. Amazon has said Sanders’ statements about the company were “inaccurate and misleading.”