Jeff Bezos announces $2 billion fund to build preschools, help homeless families

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

The Amazon founder's net worth is estimated to be more than $163 billion, making him both the richest person on the planet and the richest in modern times. The first will provide annual leadership awards to existing nonprofits "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families", said Bezos in a statement.

"I don't feel the need to defend Amazon", Bezos said. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote saying Amazon employees around the globe will be wearing pjs to work to show their solidarity and support to children suffering from the deadly disease.

Among the world's top tech CEOs, Bezos is not known for his philanthropy.

Bezos has faced criticism for his absence from the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to donate more than half their fortunes to good causes.

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More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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

"The Bezos Family Foundation - and Jeff obviously has a role in that - has been engaged with early learning initiatives for years now", Burgess said, adding that it could only help the political momentum toward universal pre-K, as Seattle's preschool program is also once again on the ballot in November.

As with most investment decisions by the Amazon founder, this one was likely grounded in data and science.

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Gates did not fully throw himself into philanthropy until he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000.

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

The private non-profit foundation in its 2016 tax filing reported almost $46 million USA in assets, and giving away $30 million United States in grants support its missions in early education, K-12 schools reform and youth leadership development and scholarships. Zuckerberg's shares in the social network are now valued at about US$61 billion.

Michael Bloomberg, the owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News, also is a signatory.

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Take the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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