Amazon's Jeff Bezos commits $2 billion to help homeless, pre-schools

CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos participates in a discussion with president of the Economic Club of Washington David Rubenstein during a Milestone Celebration dinner

Jeff Bezos Rips President Trump over ‘Dangerous’ Attacks on the Washington Post Alex Wong Getty 14 Sep 2018

But he had not engaged in much philanthropy - at least publicly - until this week.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, announced Thursday he was creating a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities, committing an initial $2 billion.

In a post to his Twitter account, Bezos said one part of the fund will give money to organizations and groups that provide shelter and food to young homeless families.

The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos, whose fortune has soared to more than $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post newspaper, warned Thursday that President Donald Trump's attacks on media are risky for the country. It's worked with Mary's Place, providing the nonprofit with a permanent homeless shelter in one of Amazon's buildings.

Numerous world's wealthiest individuals and families are turning their focus to charitable giving.

Trump in the spring repeatedly said without evidence that package deliveries by the U.S. Postal Service for Amazon were costing the service money. In 2011, Bezos and his wife donated $15 million to Princeton University, their alma mater, to create the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics, which develops new techniques to study brain function.

Rubenstein asked Bezos whether he has discussed Bezos' criticism directly with the president.

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At a rare public-speaking appearance on Thursday night at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, Bezos provided a few more details about his new giving, saying he plans to hire an executive team for the preschool network soon.

"It's unsafe to demonize the media", Bezos said. "You get them trained". "You're going to get scrutinized, and it's healthy. They are perfectly productive members of society".

Bezos said in remarks to the Economic Club of Washington that it is "really really hard" for a child to catch up if they fall behind in their early years.

In the education realm, Bezos is tipping his hat to the intensely private and media-shy Bezos Family Foundation that is run by his parents. 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. In January, Bezos had his largest known charitable donation to date, a $33 million donation to TheDream.us, a non-profit organization that gives scholarships to Dreamers, who are young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to and raised in the USA from a young age.

The money is being used to finance university scholarships for 1,000 high school graduates who were granted the chance to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.

Many were eager to hear any hint of where Bezos had chose to put Amazon's second headquarters, with multiple locations surrounding the national capital in contention.

Along with Amazon, the tech mogul also owns space exploration company Blue Origin and newspaper The Washington Post.

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