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Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, launches $2 billion charitable fund to fight poverty
14 September 2018, 05:12 | Joann Bryant
Sources News reports and announcements
On Twitter, he posted a screenshot of an announcement pledging to donate $2 billion to fund "existing non-profits that help homeless families, and [create] a network of new, non-profit, tier-one 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. (The foundation was formed from the merger of two smaller, pre-existing efforts: the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation.) The organization, which is focused on global health and education, has distributed $46 billion to grant recipients through a year ago. While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described on Thursday as an "investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure".
The fund will be split between Day 1 Families Fund and Day 1 Academies Fund.
Bezos, whose net worth is estimated at about $164 billion, has been criticized for not doing more to support charities, the way other billionaires have, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg.
His private ownership of The Washington Post, which has published articles critical of the White House, has also put him at odds with US President Donald Trump. The Amazon boss and his wife, who have four children, both serve on the foundation's board directors.
Trump has described The Washington Post as Amazon's "chief lobbyist". "We're going to push through this". Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession.
Philanthropy experts called Bezos' approach direct and pragmatic, but said its success would depend largely on how the money was allocated and how willing the billionaire was to make changes along the way.
"The Bezos Family Foundation - and Jeff obviously has a role in that - has been engaged with early learning initiatives for years now", Burgess said, adding that it could only help the political momentum toward universal pre-K, as Seattle's preschool program is also once again on the ballot in November. The child will be the customer.
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