Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to start $2bn charitable fund
Money used will open pre-schools in low-income neighbourhoods
Jeff Bezos’ stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP
Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos has said he is giving $2 billion (€1.71 billion) to start a fund that will open pre-schools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to non-profit groups which help homeless families.
Mr Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion (€137 billion), says he will call it the Bezos Day One Fund.
An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed that the money would all come from Bezos, though there are few details about how the fund will operate.
In a post to his Twitter account, Mr Bezos said one part of the fund will give money to organisations and groups that provide shelter and food to young homeless families.
The other part will launch and operate free pre-schools in low-income communities, where “the child will be the customer”.
It is not yet known what his preschools will look like except that they will be based on the teaching philosophy of Maria Montessori, which focuses on play-based learning that caters to individuality and social-emotional development.
Mr Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online book store more than two decades ago, has seen his wealth surge along with Amazon’s stock.
Mr Bezos’ wealth has allowed him to pay for side ventures, including starting space exploration company Blue Origin and buying The Washington Post newspaper.
Mr Bezos hinted earlier this year that he would take on a major philanthropic project after asking his Twitter followers for ideas on how to give away his money.
In January, Mr Bezos also personally gave $33 million (€28 million) in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the US illegally.