Amazon's Bezos pledges $2B to fight homelessness, improve preschool access

The founder of the Seattle tech giant announced his plans Thursday on Twitter

According to a Twitter post on Thursday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, alongside his wife MacKenzie, will donate $2 billion to already-active groups which fight homelessness and fund “Montessori-inspired” schools for preschool-aged kids.

Dubbed the “Bezos Day One Fund,” the efforts to combat homelessness will focus on young families and its approach is modeled after the values of Seattle’s Mary’s Place emergency shelter, read the tweeted statement.

The money will be allotted to “annual leadership awards,” to groups which have already established themselves. According to a report in The New York Times, Amazon has already donated building capacity to Mary’s Place, and is constructing a shelter in a still-to-be-built headquarters, which will house 50 families with sick children.

As well, the fund will start and run a network of preschools in “underserved communities.”

“We will build an organization to directly operate these preschools. I’m excited about that because it will give us the opportunity to learn, invent and improve,” read the statement credited to Bezos. “We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

Bezos also pointed to his other “investments in the future of our planet,” highlighting his ventures in The Washington Post, which he purchased in 2013 for $250 million, and the construction of space-based infrastructure through his rocket company, Blue Origin.

Previously, criticism has been levied against the CEO and his company. While recently becoming the richest person on Earth due to Amazon stock gains, Bezos has faced accusations of underpaying his company’s warehouse workers, as well as providing a poor working environment. Additionally, recently proposed federal legislation, spearheaded by Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, would tax companies with 500 employees or more based on how much federal funds their lowest-income workers receive.

Being called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS), it’s fairly obvious who the bill’s intended target is.

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