Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveils $2 bn fund for homeless, others

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Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's Forum on Leadership in Dallas, Texas, U.S., April 20, 2018.

The money will be divided between the Day 1 Family Fund, geared toward helping homeless families, and the Day 1 Academies Fund, which will open and operate "full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in under-served communities", according to Bezos' tweet. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary's Place to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. It is a contrast to the long view that Bezos has preached at Amazon and Blue Origin, the space-travel technology company he has been funding with $1 billion a year through the sale of Amazon stock.

"Another way we're raising awareness is through our special #GoGold boxes - you may receive one during September", he added. Forbes magazine placed him at the top of its list of billionaires for the first time this year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.

Bezos has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Gates encouraging billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth.

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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.

He has also made donations for cancer research and to Princeton University, his alma mater. An Inc. spokeswoman said the $2 billion will all come from Bezos. Jeff Bezos's net worth is about $150 billion, so this campaign represents a little over 1% of that. While his and Amazon investors' wealth increases-and the company's market capitalization approaches $1 trillion-what makes the business so efficient is that relies on automation and low-priced labor.

The fight soured many more locals on Amazon and Bezos, and also overshadowed the growing portfolio of philanthropy they had done in the city.

Amazon has faced criticism for paying little in taxes, which stems in part from its historically low profits.