Jeff Bezos was named the richest man in modern history this July, with Bloomberg reporting that his fortune hit $150 billion.
Until this week, however, Bezos hadn’t engaged in much philanthropy, and he is the only American among the world’s five richest people to not join the Giving Pledge.
On Thursday, Bezos announced the launch of a $2 billion fund to support homeless families and education programs in underserved communities.
The announcement comes more than a year after Bezos asked his Twitter followers for input on choosing a short-term philanthropic strategy.
Jeff Bezos was named the richest man in modern history when his fortune hit the $150 billion mark in July. But he had not engaged in much philanthropy — at least publicly — until this week.
Bezos announced two philanthropic goals on Thursday, launching a $2 billion fund to support homeless families and education programs in underserved communities. The Bezos Day One Fund will form a support network for homeless families and build early education program that Bezos called “full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools.”
The announcement comes more than a year after Bezos requested input from his Twitter followers for creating a short-term philanthropy strategy.
“I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact,” Bezos wrote.
He cited the example of Mary’s Place in Seattle, which provides shelter and employment training to people who are homeless. Amazon partnered with Mary’s Place in 2016, turning an old hotel into a shelter for more than 200 family members. That space was later demolished to make room for two new Amazon office towers, but the company committed to giving Mary’s Place a permanent home. Bezos himself has donated $1 million to the nonprofit.
In a June 2017 letter published in Forbes, philanthropy adviser Jake Hayman criticized Bezos for focusing on short-term solutions and deciding to seek suggestions on Twitter.
“The answer is not to provide shelter and employment services to homeless families everywhere but instead to fix the systems that have consistently and repeatedly failed people to the point at which they rely on charity,” Hayman wrote.
Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, sat down with Bezos in April for an interview that revealed more details about the billionaire’s thought process for philanthropy.
During the interview, Bezos said he is interested in addressing transient homelessness and helping people without family or a support system.
“You only have to help them for six to nine months,” Bezos said. “You get them trained. You get them a job. They are perfectly productive members of society.”
Amazon is one of the top employers whose workers receive food stamps. Bezos is also the only American in Bloomberg’s ranking of the five richest people in the world to not join the Giving Pledge, which people sign to commit a majority of their fortune to charity.
Other billionaires, such as Tesla CEO …read more
Source:: Business Insider