Jeff Bezos launches $2 billion fund to finance preschools and help homeless families


By Jonathan Shieber and Anthony Ha for

In a tweet this morning, Amazon founder (and the world’s richest man) Jeff Bezos announced that he and his wife were creating a $2 billion fund to finance a network of nonprofit preschools and donate funds to organizations helping homeless families.

“The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families,” Bezos writes in a statement.

There’s also a Day 1 Academies Fund that will launch a network of free, Montessori-inspired schools in low-income neighborhoods.

Bezos said the schools will employ the “same set of principles that have driven Amazon .” Which, for Bezos, means an intense focus on the customer.

The funds are called the “Day 1” funds because they align with Bezos’ stated philosophy of “maintaining a Day 1 mentality.”

Starting a network of free schools for underprivileged children and giving out money to help organizations that are working to alleviate the needs of the nation’s homeless are inarguably good things, but it’s unclear whether these individual steps can work to address more systemic problems that underlie problems of homelessness and a lack of educational opportunity that exists more broadly in the country.

Perhaps Bezos was inspired to battle the nation’s homeless plight when he saw this report on Vickie Shannon Allen, an Amazon employee who became homeless after a workplace accident cost her her job.

It’s also a bit rich to see Bezos tackle the issue of homelessness after his company was the mustache twirling arch nemesis of a bill in Seattle that would have created a tax to finance homeless shelters and low-income housing.

Read more here.

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