Billionaires | September 14, 2018

Jeff Bezos pledges $2 billion to build preschools and fight homelessness

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

With a tweet, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos pledged $2 billion of his estimated net worth of $163 billion to the Bezos Day 1 Fund, which will back existing nonprofits that help homeless families and create a new network of nonprofit preschools in underserved communities. (No seed capital for “a new generation of makers, creators, and doers.” Sorry, Ross Baird!).

The Day 1 Families Fund plans leadership awards to needle-moving organizations sheltering and feeding young families without a home. The Day 1 Academies Fund, Bezos said, would launch a network of Montessori-style preschools in low-income neighborhoods.

“The child will be the customer,” he said. In a tweet that went viral, CNN economy reporter Lydia DePillis asked “Is this better than just taxing the wealth of the richest man in the world, and making that money democratically accountable?”

Alibaba’s Jack Ma (net worth: $36 billion) said last week he is stepping down to focus on education. “I will learn from Bill GatesWarren Buffett and a lot of great philanthropists in the world, but I want to do something using my own way,” Ma told Bloomberg.

Gates (net worth: $96 billion) and Buffett (net worth: $89 billion) have pledged to give away at least half of their wealth. Bezos and Ma have not made the Giving Pledge.