Jeff Bezos Starts a $2 Billion Fund for Schools and the Homeless 'We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer,' the Amazon CEO says.

By Michael Kan

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Paul Morigi | Getty Images

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

Bezos, currently the world's richest person, asked Twitter followers a year ago for ideas about how he should shape his "philanthropy strategy." The new "Bezos Day One Fund" is the result; it'll work to issue "awards" to existing nonprofits that provide shelter and food to homeless young families.

The fund will also launch a network of "full scholarship" preschools based in underserved communities. "We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer," he wrote in his post.

Among the world's top tech CEOs, Bezos is not known for his philanthropy. Hehas not signed on to the Giving Pledge, and the Bezos Family Foundation is reportedly run by his parents; Bezos does not play an active role.

Bezos has instead invested in things like The Washington Post, his space venture Blue Origin and a giant clock in Texas that's designed to run for 10,000 years.

Today's news, meanwhile, comes as Amazon is facing some bad PR over its labor practices.

"The issue about Amazon is not just that the wealthiest person on earth, Jeff Bezos, is paying workers unlivable wages. It's about the 'new economy' and the degradation of the human spirit -- breaking down people, spitting them out and simply replacing them with new bodies," U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted last week.

Bezos's net worth has been valued at $164 billion. Amazon also recently became the second company, behind Apple, to reach the trillion-dollar market cap.

Bezos's post didn't directly touch on any labor topics. But he said his goal with the new fund is to help ensure that future generations prosper. "If our own great grandchildren don't have lives better than ours, something has gone very wrong," he said.

Michael Kan


Michael has been a PCMag reporter since October 2017. He previously covered tech news in China from 2010 to 2015, before moving to San Francisco to write about cybersecurity.

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