Amazon's CEO Starts $2 Billion Fund for Schools, Homeless

Jeff Bezos founder and CEO of Amazon told an Economic Club of Washington dinner he will add to his $2 billion philanthropic initiativeMore

Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, said he would begin with an initial commitment of $2 billion to create what he called the Day One Fund.

Philanthropy experts called Bezos' approach direct and pragmatic, but said its success would depend largely on how the money was allocated and how willing the billionaire was to make changes along the way.

Bezos is the world's richest person, with an estimated worth of $164 billion.

Bezos said he selected these two areas of his new fund after getting thousands of ideas from an appeal he launched on Twitter past year.

Now that question has been answered, at least in part.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post newspaper, warned Thursday that President Donald Trump's attacks on media are unsafe for the country.

"As an individual commitment, $2 billion is pretty high but it's not in the league of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation", which past year had a $50.7 billion endowment, said Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The top five as of 2015, the previous year for which numbers are available, were the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with $40 billion, the Duke Endowment with $33 billion, the Ford Foundation with $12 billion and the Lilly Endowment with $11 billion.

"It's unsafe to demonize the media", Bezos said.

The two funds he introduced Thursday attempt to answer that.

On Twitter Thursday, Bezos said he would create a "Families Fund" that would "issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families". The most notable involving more than $40 million to the local nonprofit FareStart - a hospitality training program and restaurant business that aims to combat homelessness and poverty - and Mary's Place, whose mission to find and provide shelter for every child.

The term "Day 1" comes Bezos' personal mantra. He describes "Day 2" as "stasis", followed by "irrelevance" and "decline". "I also know of a lot of existing Montessori organizations doing incredible work in underserved communities that are always looking for funding", she said, citing the work being done at the Keres Children's Learning Center in New Mexico's Cochiti Pueblo as an example. And each time the headquarters moves, the new building takes that name. You get them a job.

"It's apple pie and Chevrolet stuff". It previously helped the nonprofit temporarily house 200 homeless people.

Despite his fortune, Bezos has not been a major philanthropic donor and Amazon has been criticized in its home of Seattle for its perceived lack of action to address problems of the city's growing homeless population. "I don't feel the need to defend Amazon". Warren Buffett has donated large portions of his money to the Gates Foundation, as well. But he had not engaged in much philanthropy - at least publicly - until this week. As of 2018, 183 individuals or couples have signed. "It will be very interesting to watch".

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