Jeff Bezos has launched a $ 2 billion "Day One Fund" to help homeless families and create kindergartens, the Amazon CEO announced Thursday.
As CEO of Amazon, founder of the rocket company Blue Origin and owner of the Washington Post, Bezos is the wealthiest man in modern history with a net worth of at least $ 150 billion.
Critics have long demanded that he use his billions for philanthropic efforts.
In June, Bezos stated that he had identified two priorities for future charitable purposes.
Here is his full statement Thursday:
I often talk about the importance of a Day 1 mentality. It's always day one, and I work hard to apply that mindset to everything I do. It was a day-1 outlook that prompted me to ask for philanthropy approaches last year. With so many important actions, the world is getting better and better, and one of the fantastic aspects of human nature is that we humans never stop looking for ways to improve things (and find them!). Our lives are better than the lives of our great-grandparents, and their lives were better than the lives of their great-grandparents before them. If our own great-grandchildren do not have a better life than ours, something went very wrong. Where is the good in the world and how can we spread it? Where are the ways to make things better? These are exciting questions.
MacKenzie and I share the belief in the potential for hard work of someone to serve others. We all have this capacity. Business innovators inventing products that empower them, writers writing inspirational books, government officials serving their communities, teachers, physicians, carpenters, entertainers who make us laugh and cry, parents who raise children, who have a life full of compassion live much more. In addition to Amazon, my previous focus has been investing in the future of our planet and our civilization through the development of a basic space infrastructure, the support of American democracy through the Washington Post and financial contributions to the committed and innovative champions of a variety of causes, from cancer research, Marriage equality, college scholarships for immigrant students, to decreasing political polarization by bipartisan support of principled, military veterans of the next generation run for Congress.
We are pleased to announce the Bezos Day One Fund today. It will begin with a commitment of $ 2 billion and focus on two areas: financing existing nonprofit organizations that help homeless families and creating a network of new nonprofit pre-schools in low-income communities.
The Day 1 Families Fund awards annual Leadership Awards to organizations and community groups that work compassionately and compassionately to provide protection and hunger relief to meet the immediate needs of young families. The vision comes from the inspirational Mary & # 39; s Place in Seattle: No child sleeps outside.
The Day 1 Academies Fund will establish and operate a network of high-quality, Montessori-inspired, full-time pre-schools in underserved communities. We will build an organization that runs these kindergartens directly. I am thrilled because it gives us the opportunity to learn, to invent and to improve. We will apply the same principles that drove Amazon forward. Most important will be the real, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer. "Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the kindling of a fire." And light this fire early is a huge leg for every kid.
I would like to thank everyone who has sent me suggestions and the inspirational examples of innovation that I see every day, big and small. It fills me with gratitude and optimism to be part of a species so intent on self-improvement.
It remains day 1!