Amazon's CEO Starts $2 Billion Fund for Schools, Homeless

Bezos Amazon board visiting Washington but no headquarters announcement planned

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone in Seattle

Last year Bezos solicited advice from the public via Twitter, asking how he could best use his wealth to help people "right now".

The fund will be split between Day 1 Families Fund and Day 1 Academies Fund.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to launch a $2bn (£1.53bn) fund to help homeless families and launch pre-schools in poor communities. Amazon's Jeff Bezos attended a board meeting in pajamas to raise awareness about childhood cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in the USA between kids aged 4 and 14.

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There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in "underserved" communities, he said. Since March 2016, Amazon customers have also been able to order items from the Mary's Place's wishlist on the site, such as diapers and socks.

Earlier this year, under pressure from Amazon and other large employers, Seattle's City Council repealed an employee head tax created to provide housing and services for the homeless. While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described Thursday as an "investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure".

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.

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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.

In the past, Bezos has made political contributions, but not of this magnitude.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, run by his parents. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally.

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