Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Read Jeff Bezos' full statement about his $2 billion Day One fund

Read Jeff Bezos' full statement about his $2 billion Day One fund

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he is giving $2 billion U.S. to start a fund that will open preschools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to non-profits that helps homeless families.

In a tweet last June, Bezos asked the public for ideas about where he should give his money.

Some resorted to the same argument as US President Donald Trump, who has attacked Amazon for not paying enough taxes and using US postal office as its "delivery boy". Previous to the creation of the Day One Fund, Bezos and his family had donated only $135 million to charities, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a nonprofit providing scholarships for the children of parents who immigrated the US illegally and most recently to a bi-partisan organization that gives campaign support to veterans running for political office.

Despite his fortune, Bezos has not been a major philanthropic donor and Amazon has been criticised in its home of Seattle, Washington, for its perception as doing little to address problems of the growing homeless population.

But in the world of ultra-rich tech philanthropists, it's roughly on par with other do-gooding efforts.

"The Day One foundation is going to be like that", he added, noting that the mission could evolve.

There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in "underserved" communities, he said. Business innovators who invent products that empower, authors who write books that inspire, government officials who serve their communities, teachers, doctors, carpenters, entertainers who make us laugh and cry, parents who raise children who go on to live lives of courage and compassion, and many more.

Mr. Trump has described the Washington Post as Amazons chief lobbyist. "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

"It's unsafe to demonise the media", Mr Bezos said. Since March 2016, Amazon customers have also been able to order items from the Mary's Place's wishlist on the site, such as diapers and socks.

"Thank you so much for supporting kids like mine by advocating for childhood cancer funding!" wrote one person in the comments section.

The Bezos Day One Fund will focus on two initiatives, the billionaire announced in an online post Thursday.

Since then, he and his wife have built the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which had an endowment of US$51 billion at the end of 2017 and pledges to spend all its resources within 20 years of its founders' deaths.

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