Kshama Sawant responds to Jeff Bezos' $2 billion charitable fund

Cristina Cross
September 14, 2018

The "Bezos Day One Fund" created by Bezos and his wife MacKenzie will focus on 2 areas: helping "existing nonprofits that help homeless families" and funding "a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities", he wrote.

The second will launch a network of "high-quality, full-scholarship" preschools in low-income communities, which a Day One Fund organization will directly operate.

He said: "We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon".

Citing the Amazon mantra of customer obsession, Bezos said in a tweet "the child will be the customer".

Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC's "Milestone Celebration Dinner" in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2018.

More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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Bezos thanked people for sending in suggestions about what he should spend money on.

While communities across the country earned looks from Amazon, the D.C. region has always been viewed as a favorite to earn Amazon's new headquarters after the company listed Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. among its 20 finalists in January. He has not signed on to the Giving Pledge, and the Bezos Family Foundation is reportedly run by his parents; Bezos does not play an active role.

The fight soured many more locals on Amazon and Bezos, and also overshadowed the growing portfolio of philanthropy they had done in the city. Public donations by the 54-year-old Bezos have been rare, and - with exceptions like a $35 million family donation to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - typically on a scale far smaller than the two men just behind him in the wealth rankings, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett.

Earlier this year Amazon played a pivotal role in diminishing and ultimately defeating a Seattle business tax to fund homelessness services and affordable housing.

With a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive officer had previously been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy. Amazon is designating 47,000 square feet of space at its new corporate office for a permanent Mary's Place shelter.

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