Amazon's CEO Starts $2 Billion Fund for Schools, Homeless

Bezos Amazon board visiting Washington but no headquarters announcement planned

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced a $2 billion fund Thursday to help homeless families and create preschools.

One part of the effort, dubbed the "Day 1 Families Fund", will give money to non-profit organizations that are "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families", Bezos's message stated.

The fund will also launch and operate a network of high-quality Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Bezos, who Forbes estimates is worth $163 billion, is the wealthiest person in modern history. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary's Place to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters.

"Another way we're raising awareness is through our special #GoGold boxes - you may receive one during September", he added. "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. It is a contrast to the long view that Bezos has preached at Amazon and Blue Origin, the space-travel technology company he has been funding with $1 billion a year through the sale of Amazon stock.

Until now, Bezos has made only small initial steps into giving.

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. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a massive philanthropic initiative tackling issues such as infectious diseases and improving education.

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