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

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He said on Thursday that the "Bezos Day One Fund" will contribute to "existing nonprofits that help homeless families" and also fund "a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities".

The Amazon founder, the world's wealthiest person, offered detail on his philanthropic goals, announcing the Bezos Day One Fund, which will begin with an initial $2 billion.

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. "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

Mr Bezos and Amazon have also faced criticism in Seattle for not doing more to help the needy, and have become focal points in the booming region's angry debate about traffic, housing prices and homelessness.

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Bezos and Amazon's board of directors are convening in Washington, D.C., this week ahead of a series of high-profile appearances for Bezos, who also is the owner of the Washington Post, among other personal properties. Amazon warehouse employees are known to have very bad working conditions, pitiful wages, and have even been forced into homelessness after workplace injuries.

The "Day 1 Academies Fund" will start an organization to operate a new network of full-scholarship pre-schools for low-income communities.

His net worth has risen by US$64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon's shares surged.

More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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Until now, Bezos, 54, had only taken small steps into philanthropy.

Outside that, Bezos and his family's known donations have included gifts to Princeton University and Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

More than a year after putting out an open call for suggestions about what to do with his spectacular wealth, Jeff Bezos has come back with a decision.

The newspaper says Bezos has no involvement in its news coverage.

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Bezos' relative silence was a stark contrast to peers like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have given away tens of billions.

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