Jeff Bezos makes $2 billion philanthropic pledge

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Jeff Bezos makes $2 billion philanthropic pledge

By Marianne Wilson - 09/13/2018
Amazon co-founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wants to help homeless families and preschools that serve low-income neighborhoods.

Bezos is pledging $2 billion to launch the Bezos Day One Fund, which will be comprised of the Families Fund and the Academics Fund. The initiative, announced on Twitter, is Bezos’ largest philanthropic effort to date. It comes on the heels of a $10 million gift by Bezos and his wife to With Honor, a super PAC that is working to get 20 veterans from both parties elected into the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 midterms.

The Families Fund will issue funding awards to existing non-profits that help homeless families, and are doing “compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families," Bezos tweeted. The vision statement for the fund, he said, comes from Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter in Seattle: No child sleeps outside.

The Academics Fund will create a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities. In a tweet, Bezos said “we will build an organization to directly operate” the preschools.

“We’ll use the same sort of principles that have driven Amazon,” he said. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

The initiative comes roughly a year after Bezos sought suggestions from the general public for ideas on philanthropy. Back then, he wrote that he wanted to help “people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

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