Bezos commits $2 billion to help homeless, schools


Jeff Bezos may be minting billions, but he fantasises about being a bartender and making craft cocktails.A look at some fantasies - achieved or otherwise - of other big guns in the business world. The wealth that Bezos has amassed hasn't come without controversy, as many critics point to poor working conditions at his facilities while others say he doesn't do enough for the public good.

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, is to launch a philanthropic fund with a $2 billion initial commitment to help homeless families and set up nursery schools in deprived areas.

In a post to his Twitter account, Bezos said one part of the fund will give money to organizations and groups that provide shelter and food to young homeless families.

"If our own great-grandchildren don't have lives better than ours, something has gone very wrong", Bezos wrote on Twitter announcing the fund. Amazon's Jeff Bezos attended a board meeting in pajamas to raise awareness about childhood cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in the United States between kids aged 4 and 14.

Mr Bezos - reportedly worth more than $164bn - has faced criticism for not doing more philanthropic work. The Amazon boss and his wife, who have four children, both serve on the foundation's board directors. The 54-year-old CEO said his team curated more than 47,000 responses and homelessness and education emerged as issues important to large numbers of people, including himself.

The fund will also launch a network of "full scholarship" preschools based in underserved communities.

In a tweet last June, Bezos asked the public for ideas about where he should give his money.

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Seattle, where Amazon has its headquarters, has been plagued by the rising number of homeless residents for the past several years. At the time, he said he was interested in projects that address urgent need but also produce lasting impact.

The Bezos Day One Fund will be made up of the Families Fund and the Academics Fund. Bezos offered no hint of his leanings in the interview but said the company will announce a location this year.

Demonising the media and calling them "the enemies of the people" is risky, Bezos said.

"We will have to leave this planet, and we're going to leave it", Bezos previously told GeekWire, "and it's going to make this planet better".

But he paraphrased Washington Post editor Martin Baron as saying that "the adminstration may be at war with us, but we are not at war with the administration".

Mr Bezos asked on Twitter last year for suggestions on how he might use his personal fortune, which this year has soared due to Amazon's surging share price and USA tax cuts.