Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Creates $2 Billion Fund to Aid Children and Homeless Families

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iStock

Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, announced today that he will put $2 billion toward efforts to aid homeless families as well as children in low-income areas, Bloomberg reports. The Amazon founder and CEO outlined his plan for the "Bezos Day One Fund" in a blog post that he took screenshots of and tweeted out to his followers.

In the message, Bezos said the fund will address two key areas. First, it will provide funding to non-profit organizations that already exist and are currently helping homeless families. Second, it will be used to create a network of non-profit preschools in low-income areas, as well as an organization to operate those schools. These institutions will be "full-scholarship" schools and will be based on the Montessori teaching method.

"We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon," he wrote. "Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer."

Bezos, whose personal fortune totals $163.8 billion, has previously invested in space infrastructure and news media (through his purchase of The Washington Post), and has provided funding to cancer research and college scholarships for immigrant students.

It's worth noting, though, that not everyone is praising Bezos's philanthropy. This announcement comes amid sharp criticism of Amazon's recent efforts to kill a Seattle business tax that would benefit the homeless community, as well as criticism of the company's treatment of employees. In August, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders launched a petition calling for Bezos to raise wages and improve working conditions, Vox reports, and just last week, Sanders introduced a "Stop BEZOS Act" bill (the not-remotely-subtle dig stands for Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act—essentially, it proposes heavily taxing wealthy corporations whose low-wage employees have to rely on government aid to get by). In response, Amazon called the criticism "inaccurate and misleading."

[h/t Bloomberg]

YouTube Will Air a Different Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical for Free Each Friday

Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2018.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Broadway may have temporarily shut down all productions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is here to make sure that musical theater aficionados still get their fill of top-notch content for the foreseeable future.

According to Broadway Direct, Webber’s production company, The Really Useful Group, has partnered with Universal on a new YouTube channel called “The Shows Must Go On!,” which will air a different Webber musical each Friday at 2 p.m. EST on YouTube. If you can’t tune in right at that time, don’t worry—the show will stay posted for 48 hours after it airs.

The series debuted last Friday, April 3, with 1999’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which stars Donny Osmond in the titular role and an ultra-talented supporting cast with Richard Attenborough, Maria Friedman, Joan Collins, and more. This week’s offering, tying in nicely with Easter, will be the 2012 Live Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring Tim Minchin, Melanie C—a.k.a. the Spice Girls’ Sporty Spice—and Ben Forster. (If you’re interested in comparing it with 2018’s live concert version with John Legend and Sara Bareilles, you can catch that on NBC this Sunday.)

The schedule for future Fridays hasn’t been released yet, but Webber did mention in the announcement that it’ll include what he calls “the most important one, my disaster musical, By Jeeves,” a 1975 production based on P.G. Wodehouse’s classic stories. Other potential productions that could be part of the series include The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, School of Rock, and, of course, Cats.

In addition to full-length Broadway musicals, the channel will also post individual songs and behind-the-scenes content about how musicals go from stage to screen. You can subscribe to the channel here so you don’t miss any opportunity for a living room singalong.

[h/t Broadway Direct]

How to Make a DIY Face Mask at Home—No Sewing Required

Sean Gallup, iStock via Getty Images
Sean Gallup, iStock via Getty Images

By the time the CDC told all Americans to start wearing face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus in early April, protective masks were already hard to find. The medical-grade masks that are available should be reserved for healthcare workers, which leaves everyone else with limited options for following the updated safety guidelines. Luckily, making your own mask at home is fast, ethical, and cheap—and you don't even need to break out the sewing machine to do it.

This video, posted on Julie Eigenmann's Instagram, illustrates how to make a no-sew face mask using supplies you likely already have at home. Start by folding a square scarf or bandana four times lengthwise to create a strip that's big enough to cover the bottom half of your face. Next, pull each end of the cloth through an elastic hair tie or rubber band (one on the right end and one of the left) so that it's roughly divided into thirds. Fold the ends into the center and tuck one end into the opening of the other to hold it all together. Pull the hair ties over your ears to secure the mask to your face.

To boost your mask's filtration power, place a trimmed coffee filter or paper towel on the cloth where your mouth will go before folding it.

After wearing the mask outdoors, you'll need to disinfect it. Take it apart, throw away the disposable filter, and soak the fabric in soapy water for a few minutes. When the cloth is clean and dry, add a new filter and reassemble the mask as shown above to use it again.

DIY cloth masks are better than nothing when it comes to protecting your face from someone coughing or sneezing nearby. But no mask will make you invincible to COVID-19, and you shouldn't use one as an excuse to act any differently outdoors. Use them on necessary trips outside, like to the grocery store or your essential job, and continue keeping a safe distance from others.

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