The net assets of Jeff Bezos rose to new heights.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced on Thursday a $ 2 billion fund to help homeless families and create kindergartens.
"Two billion dollars is a lot of money, and it could do an incredible amount of good," said Henry Berman, CEO of Exponent Philanthropy, a non-profit organization that supports philanthropic philanthropic groups.
Bezos is the richest person in the world with an estimated value of $ 164 billion. How he will use this fortune for philanthropy was a point of discussion, especially after June 2017, when he searched on Twitter for ideas on how he could make a difference.
Now this question has been answered at least partially. On Thursday, Bezos sent out a long tweet, introducing a $ 2 billion Beos Day One fund to support two charities, one for homeless families and the other for creating quality pre-schools in underserved communities.
The striking $ 2 billion immediately makes the Day One Fund one of the country's top 50 philanthropic foundations, according to the Foundation Center, which tracks philanthropic organizations.
The top five from 2015, the last year for which figures are available, were the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $ 40 billion, the Duke Endowment for $ 33 billion, the Ford Foundation for $ 12 billion, and the Lilly Endowment with 11 billion dollars.
In his tweet, Bezos said the exciting questions he must ask, "Where's the good in the world and how can we spread it? Where are the ways to make things better?"
The two funds he introduced on Thursday are trying to answer that.
The Day 1 Families Fund awards annual leadership awards to organizations that use "needle work" to provide shelter and starvation for families with young children.
The vision statement comes from the "No Child Sleeps Outside" fundraiser for Mary's Place, a homeless shelter in Seattle that gave Amazon more than 47,000 square feet of space in one of its buildings and provides home to 200 women. Children and families.
The Day 1 Academics Fund plans to establish and operate a network of high-quality, Montessori-inspired pre-schools in underserved communities. Bezos said the network will give the organization the opportunity to "learn, invent and improve," using the same principles that drove Amazon's growth.
The name "Day 1" comes from Bezos' insistence that it's always Day 1 on Amazon. In his annual letter to shareholders in 2016, he wrote: "Day 2 is stasis, followed by irrelevance, followed by agonizing, painful decline, followed by death, and that's why it's always day 1."
Seattle's Amazon headquarters is also called Day One. And every time headquarters moves, the new building bears this name.
How is it given away?
The biggest immediate question is how exactly the Bezoses will organize the donation. It is not clear from the tweet if they are creating a foundation or any other kind of organization to distribute the money.
A foundation would have a very specific legal framework: the $ 2 billion would be spent on a foundation that would have to give away at least 5 percent every year.
"It would be unusual to have a gift of this magnitude to start a foundation," said Amir Pasic, dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, Indianapolis.
"Gifts of $ 100,000 or more usually go to higher education or hospitals because they can absorb it," Pasic said.
The emphasis of the planned donation of Bezoses is politically harmless, said Berman.
"It's apple pie and Chevrolet stuff, who in your opinion would argue against trying to help the homeless and underserved preschoolers?" he said.
It comes after Amazon struck a bloody battle with Seattle this summer over a poll tax that would have helped the city raise money to pay for homeless services. Housing costs have increased significantly in the area, leading to a homeless crisis.
Many in the Seattle area are of the opinion that the problem of homelessness has been exacerbated by the influx of thousands of high-paid tech workers on Amazon, which raised rents and displaced lower-income residents.
Whatever the Bezoses do, no one in the world of philanthropy necessarily expects to spend their money the way the rich have traditionally.
For example, they have not signed the famous "Giving Pledge," sometimes referred to as "Billionaires Pledge." It was created in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Those who sign the noncommittal pledge promise that they will spend at least half of their wealth on philanthropy during or after their death. As of 2018, 183 people or couples have signed.
Jeff Bezos has always been an entrepreneur and a loner, Pasic said. "He will not follow any pre-determined ways he uses his fortune, it will be very interesting to watch."
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