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

14 September, 2018, 12:12 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Jeff Bezos of Amazon speaks at the Bush Centers Forum on Leadership in Dallas

Bezos' announcement comes on the heels of a number of high-profile philanthropic efforts by the country's tech billionaires.

Bezos, during a question-answer session at a dinner hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, said Trump's attacks risk eroding protections and social norms important for democracy.

"The Day One foundation is going to be like that", he added, noting that the mission could evolve. But before we applaud the effort too enthusiastically, perhaps we should also look at who is perpetuating this poverty.

Fox News political contributor Tammy Bruce, Christine Pelosi, daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk on how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launched a $2 billion "Day One Fund" to support underserved communities.

The Bezos gift is one of the biggest single donations ever announced for preschools, if not the biggest, said Avo Makdessian, director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Centre for Early Learning.

"If a kid falls behind, it's really hard to catch up", Bezos said, speaking about his own childhood that included preschool and a teacher who said he was so focused on tasks she had to move his chair to get him to start a new project. 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.

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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. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million USA in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

In the summer of 2017, Bezos tweeted a request from the masses for philanthropic ideas "at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact".

It is not surprising that the world's richest person "is finally getting serious about philanthropy", said David Callahan, founder of website Inside Philanthropy.

He said he did not know how much money he would eventually give away.

The staggering fortunes of the likes of Bezos, Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have created a second Gilded Age in the USA and "a new generation of megagivers", Callahan said.

Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and a year ago acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

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