Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Creates $2 Billion Fund to Aid Children and Homeless Families
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.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) September 13, 2018
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."