Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Economy | By

Jeff Bezos Now Has a £1.5 Billion Charity Fund

Jeff Bezos Now Has a £1.5 Billion Charity Fund

Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $US2 billion on Thursday for a new fund to start preschools and help homeless families.

Organisations will be given grants for "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the needs of young families".

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

Where a "network" of Bezos preschools is concerned, we should be especially sceptical.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to be Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's arch-nemesis, so it only makes sense that she would have something to say about the entrepreneur's $2 billion charitable fund toward homelessness and education.

Bezos is worth $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a sum mostly derived from the about 16 percent stake in Amazon that he owns.

"As an individual commitment, $2 billion is pretty high but it's not in the league of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation", which past year had a $50.7 billion endowment, said Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Earlier this month Amazon, which Mr Bezos founded in 1994, became only the second stock market company to be valued at $1tn. While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described on Thursday as an "investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure".

Bezos has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Gates encouraging billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally. The Washington Post's top editor has said that Bezos has no involvement in its news coverage. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators. What the president should say is, 'This is right, this is good.

Amazon has faced criticism for paying little in taxes, which stems in part from its historically low profits. While no big announcement was expected to be made regarding the location of the second headquarters, that didn't stop Rubenstein from slyly asking Bezos where HQ2 will be heading to.

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