Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week announced a massive $2 billion fund that will go towards helping homeless families and building early education programmes in underprivileged communities.
Called the Bezos Day One Fund, Bezos said the programme had been created along with wife MacKenzie Bezos. He made the announcement through his twitter account last Thursday, naming the fund after his “Day 1” philosophy. He said the fund would focus on building early education programmes that he called “full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools”.
“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” Bezos said on his twitter account. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) September 13, 2018
He went on: “I talk often about the importance of maintaining a Day 1 mentality. It’s always Day 1, and I work hard to apply that mindset to everything I do. It was a Day 1 outlook that made me reach out to ask for suggestions on approaches to philanthropy last year”.
He said his wife MacKenzie and he “share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others. We all have that capacity”. Bezos said his areas of focus, besides Amazon, had been “investment in the future of our planet and civilization through the development of foundational space infrastructure, support of American democracy through stewardship of the Washington Post, and financial contributions to the dedicated and innovative champions of a variety of causes, from cancer research, to marriage equality, to college scholarships for immigrant students, to decreasing political polarization through cross-partisan support of principled, next-generation military vets running for Congress”.
The Amazon CEO said, “We’re excited today to announce the Bezos Day One Fund. It will begin with a commitment of $2 billion and focus on two areas: funding existing non-profits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities. 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. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.”
“The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities. We will build an organization to directly operate these preschools. I’m excited about that because it will give us the opportunity to learn, invent, and improve. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” And lighting that fire early is a giant leg up for any child,” Jeff Bezos said.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world with an estimated worth of over $161 billion. However, he is known as a man who is extraordinarily strict with his cash given his affluence. While the announcement has largely been welcomed across the globe for being Bezos first foray into philanthropy, Amazon has faced backlash in recent months over the alleged poor work conditions Amazon workers are provided. Only recently, Senator Bernie Sanders tabled a legislation aimed at making mega companies like Amazon pay employees better wages. It is called “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies”, or “Stop BEZOS.”