Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, announced Thursday he was creating a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities, committing an initial $2 billion, Yahoo News reports.
Bezos made the announcement on Twitter a year after asking for ideas on how he could use his personal fortune — now estimated at more than $160 billion — for charitable efforts.
The “Bezos Day One Fund” created by Bezos and his wife MacKenzie will focus on two areas: helping “existing nonprofits that help homeless families” and funding “a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities,” he wrote.
“I’ve seen small things get big and it’s part of this ‘day one’ mentality,” Bezos told an Economic Club of Washington dinner.
“The Day One foundation is going to be like that,” he added, noting that the mission could evolve. “We’ll wander a bit, too.”
For the homeless, grants will be given to organizations “doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the needs of young families,” Bezos said on Twitter.
The fund will also seek to launch and operate “a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities,” he wrote.
Bezos said early childhood education is a critical area and that “the money spent there is going to pay gigantic dividends for decades.”
He said the schools would “use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon” and that “the child will be the customer.”
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveils $2 bn philanthropic fund (Yahoo News)