Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed that he is giving away part of his fortune for philanthropic efforts.
Bezos revealed that he and his wife, MacKenzie, are committing $2 billion to fund nonprofits that support homeless families, and to create preschools in low-income communities. The couple called the project the “Bezos Day One Fund.”
In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday, Bezos said that the fund will give yearly leadership awards to organizations that are engaged in addressing the immediate needs of young families. He also said the project will provide full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.
The fund will be split between the Day 1 Families Fund, which will issue annual leadership awards to civic groups and organizations, and the Day 1 Academies Fund, which will launch and operate the network of high quality, full-scholarship preschools.
Bezos said that a designated organization will directly operate the preschools.
“We will build an organization to directly operate these preschools. I’m excited about that because it will give us the opportunity to learn, invent, and improve,” he said.
“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession.”
Bezos is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His personal fortune rose by $64.7 billion this year alone, but despite his wealth, Bezos was not as zealous as his peers when it comes to philanthropy.
Bill Gates, who ranks second to Bezos on the Bloomberg list, is engaged in addressing issues such as infectious diseases and quality education through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffet, who came at third on the list, has given away more than $46 billion to charities since 2000.
CNN said that critics have called on Bezos for not contributing his fortune to philanthropy like other billionaires, but Bezos now appears to have changed his stance on giving. Last year, he asked advice through Twitter on how he could use his fortune to help people.
“I’m thinking of a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time — working on the long term,” the billionaire, who also owns Washington Post and Blue Origin, said.
Earlier this year, Bezos’ company, Amazon, also partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary’s Place to build permanent shelter in the company’s headquarters. Customers can now also order items from the Mary’s Place’s wishlist on Amazon since March, 2016.