Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, is launching a $2 billion fund to help homeless families and create a network of non-profit preschools in low-income communities.
The Bezos Day One Fund will issue annual awards to organizations that are doing “compassionate, needle-moving work” to shelter and support the immediate needs of young families, the billionaire announced in a blog post on Thursday. Its vision statement comes from Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.
“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” Bezos wrote. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”
With a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive officer had previously been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy. His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon’s shares have surged. Bezos’ relative silence was a stark contrast to peers like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have given away tens of billions.
Last year Bezos solicited advice from the public via Twitter, asking how he could best use his wealth to help people “right now.” At the time, he said that he was interested in funding projects to help people at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact. The missive set off a frenzy of responses from e...