Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches a $2 bln philanthropic fund

Posted September 14, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the launch of a new $2 billion charitable fund Thursday, focused on fighting homelessness and providing quality education. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession.

Despite his fortune, Bezos has not been a major philanthropic donor and Amazon has been criticized in its home of Seattle, Washington, for doing little to address problems of the growing homeless population. "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 United States between ages 4 and 14.

The fund will also seek to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities", he wrote.

Earlier this year Amazon played a pivotal role in diminishing and ultimately defeating a Seattle business tax to fund homelessness services and affordable housing.

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According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon's e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of USA online retail sales and almost five percent of all retail spending.

Mr Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter past year for ways to donate some of his wealth.

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

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.

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Bezos thanked people for sending in suggestions about what he should spend money on.

An Amazon spokesman didn't have details on who would run Bezos' new initiative, or where the group would be based.

Mr Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to donate over half of their fortunes to philanthropy. Some activists and politicians have partly blamed the city's problems on Amazon.

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