Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Amazon's Jeff Bezos unveils $2 billion philanthropic fund

Amazon's Jeff Bezos unveils $2 billion philanthropic fund

Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos on Thursday launched Bezos Day One Fund, a new philanthropic initiative, with an initial commitment of $2 billion to help homeless families and create preschools for low-income communities.

Bezos, whose Amazon fortune has made him the world's richest person, added that he has had "a couple of conversations" with Trump but declined to say what was discussed.

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's Forum on Leadership in Dallas, Texas, US, April 20, 2018. "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

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

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And earlier this year, under pressure from Amazon and other large employers, Seattle's city council repealed an employee head tax that would have funded housing and services for the homeless. His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon's shares have surged.

Until now, Bezos, 54, had only taken small steps into philanthropy.

Last year, Bezos said that he wanted to use philanthropy to help solve society's issues in the "here and now".

It's good that Bezos understands that there is a poverty problem, but by throwing his money at third-party organizations-and not focusing on fixing the systemic income gaps his company creates-he is only further proving the point of those who critique the tone-deafness of tech billionaires.

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Even so, Amazon insisted it was "deeply committed" to tackling homelessness in Seattle and said it would continue to invest in local nonprofits that work with the homeless.

The newspaper says Bezos has no involvement in its news coverage.

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 a year ago acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

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