Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos have launched a $2 billion charity fund aimed at helping America’s most vulnerable. The fund is intended to help homeless families and create a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.
The billionaire couple announced the Bezos Day One Fund in an online post. Bezos said in his tweet, “MacKenzie and I share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others.” The fund will be split equally between the Day One Families Fund, focusing on the homeless, and the Day One Academies Fund, focusing on creating a network of preschools in low-income areas.
Critics have long called for Bezos to put his billions toward philanthropic efforts. Bezos is the world’s richest person with a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone. In addition to being CEO of Amazon, Bezos is also the founder of rocket company Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post.
Last year, Bezos asked for advice via Twitter on how he could best use his fortune to help people. He wanted to focus on projects that addressed urgent needs but also produced lasting impacts. In June, Bezos announced that he had identified two areas of focus for future charitable endeavors.
Many of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families are turning their focus to charitable giving. Nearly 200 of them have joined The Giving Pledge, a commitment started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to give away at least half their wealth.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had an endowment of $51 billion at the end of 2017 and pledges to spend all its resources within 20 years of its founders’ deaths. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 34, and his wife Priscilla Chan announced several years ago that they intended to give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock.