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Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, launches $2 billion charitable fund to fight poverty

14 September 2018

Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos launched a US$2 billion fund to help homeless families and create a network of non-profit preschools in low-income communities. "If our own great-grandchildren don't have lives better than ours, something has gone very wrong", said Bezos in a statement shared on Twitter.

Bezos asked for suggestions for philanthropic focuses in a tweet a year ago.

He has given $1.5 billion to Blue Origin, his company developing technology for space travel. "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote in an Instagram post shared about 10 hours ago, explaining that every year, Amazon ties up with the American Childhood Cancer Organisation to raise awareness of childhood cancer, which is the second leading cause of death for kids in the U.S. between ages 4 and 14.

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.

The Bezos cash injection follows the philanthropic efforts of other billionaires including Microsoft's Bill Gates, who has donated tens of billions to his foundation.

What Mr. Trump "should say [of criticism] is, 'This is right, this is good".

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He said the cash will also provide funding to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship" pre-schools in "underserved communities". "But we're going to make a final pitch".

The staggering fortunes of the likes of Bezos, Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have created a second Gilded Age in the United States and "a new generation of megagivers", Callahan said.

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.

With a personal fortune of US$163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon chief executive officer had been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy. "The secret sauce of Amazon - the number one thing that has made us successful has by far is obsessive, compulsive focus on the customer".

He added that "we live in a society where it's not just the laws of the land that protect us.it's also the social norms that protect us". Neither was aware of any information beyond what was disclosed by Bezos, and both said their organisations had not been asked to advise the use of the Day 1 funds.

Bezos thanked people for sending in suggestions about what he should spend money on.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, launches $2 billion charitable fund to fight poverty