Sci-tech

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches a $2 bln philanthropic fund

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches a $2 bln philanthropic fund

The Amazon CEO and his wife, MacKenzie, will commit $2 billion to fund existing nonprofits that help homeless families and to create a network of preschools in low-income communities.

Mr Bezos, who is the world's richest person with a net worth of $164bn (£125bn), said: "We'll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon".

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An Amazon spokesman didn't have details on who would run Bezos' new initiative, or where the group would be based. "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote saying Amazon employees around the globe will be wearing pjs to work to show their solidarity and support to children suffering from the deadly disease.

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Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy.

Bezos's wealth has allowed him to pay for side ventures, including starting space exploration company Blue Origin and buying the Washington Post newspaper.

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Bezos, and Amazon, have been criticized in Seattle for not doing more to help the needy and have become focal points in the booming region's angry debate about traffic, housing prices and homelessness. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary's Place to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. City leaders quickly rescinded the levy. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators. "Although he has a global vision, they really have a local heart". In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally. The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the world's largest private nonprofit foundation has an endowment worth over $40 billion USA and has long supported homelessness services for families in the city. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and each year Amazon partners with @ACCOrg to raise awareness of childhood cancer - second leading cause of death for kids in the US between ages 4 and 14.