Amazon’s Jeff Bezos launches US$2 billion fund to help the homeless

Muriel Hammond
September 14, 2018

The new philanthropic effort is called the Bezos Day One Fund, a nod to the executive's management philosophy that organizations must view every day with the fervor of a new start, or face stagnation and decline.

The first will provide annual leadership awards to existing nonprofits "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families", said Bezos in a statement.

The other component, called the "Day 1 Academies Fund", will create "and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities", Bezos said.

Mr Bezos, who is the world's richest person with a net worth of $164bn (£125bn), said: "We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon". "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to open and fund nursery schools in low income areas, promising that poor children would be treated like Amazon customers.


In a tweet last June, Bezos asked the public for ideas about where he should give his money. Public donations by the 54-year-old Bezos have been rare, and - with exceptions like a $35 million family donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - typically on a scale far smaller than the two men just behind him in the wealth rankings, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett.

The company's push to build a second home base highlights how massively Amazon has expanded during its 20-plus year history.

By choosing to focus his philanthropy on homelessness and early education, Bezos is likely influenced both by his parents's Bezos Family Foundation and by his adopted hometown of Seattle, however mixed some people there may feel about the city's growing affordability crisis that's been largely attributed to the success of Amazon.

American billionaire philanthropy is spreading elsewhere.

Helping the homeless has also been a focus for Amazon. In 2016, it renovated a vacant hotel on land designated for its new headquarters so it could be used temporarily by the nonprofit group Mary's Place to give shelter to 200 homeless families.

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