Jeff Bezos launches $2 billion philanthropic fund targeting homelessness, preschool education

Jeff Bezos launches $2 billion philanthropic fund targeting homelessness, preschool education

Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos is launching a $2 billion fund to help homeless families and build preschools in low-income communities.

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.

The second will operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship Montessori-inspired preschools.

The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos, whose fortune has soared to more than $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon.

The Bezos gift is one of the biggest single donations ever announced for preschools, if not the biggest, said Avo Makdessian, director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Centre for Early Learning.

Mr Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post newspaper, warned on Thursday (Sept 13) that President Donald Trump's attacks on the media are risky for the country.

Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos - no stranger to attacks on his companies and himself from President Trump - said that the president should welcome media scrutiny instead of bashing journalists.

Bezos and his wife Mac Kenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation run by his parents
Bezos and his wife Mac Kenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation run by his parents

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

In January, Bezos donated $33 million for college scholarships to "Dreamers"- childhood undocumented immigrants allowed to stay in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Mr Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to donate over half of their fortunes to philanthropy.

Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter past year for ways to donate some of his wealth.

Bezos said his decision to select Seattle for Amazon's original home base was due to Microsoft being there and he had plenty of technical talent to pull from in city. It's healthy. What the president should say is, this is right, this is good, I'm glad I'm bring scrutinized, and that would be so secure and confident.

Zuckerberg, 34, and his wife Priscilla Chan said in 2015 that they planned to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook stock.

Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and previous year acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

Hurricane Florence: 1000mm of rain forecast for North, South Carolina
On Wednesday morning, the storm was about 550 miles from the Carolina coast and remains a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds. US President Donald Trump declared states of emergency for North and SC and Virginia, opening the way for federal aid.

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