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

14 September 2018
Kshama Sawant responds to Jeff Bezos' $2 billion charitable fund

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

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he is giving $2 billion United States to start a fund that will open preschools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to non-profits that helps homeless families. Going by Wednesday's closing price of $1,990 per share, Bezos will need to gift about 1 million shares of Amazon stock to meet the $2 billion commitment, Forbes reports, adding that he would be left with some 78 million shares of the company he founded. In addition to Amazon, my area of focus so far have included investment in the future of our planet and civilization through the development of foundational space infrastructure, support of American democracy through stewardship of the Washington Post, and financial contributions to the dedicated and innovative champions of a variety of causes, from cancer research, to marriage equality, to college scholarships for immigrant students, to decreasing political polarization through cross-partisan support of principles, next-generation military vets running for Congress. The following week, Bezos will speak at the Air Force Association conference in National Harbor, an appearance tied to his rocket company, Blue Origin.

Amazon declined to comment for this story but said Bezos does not plan to make any HQ2 announcements during his D.C. trip.

Mr Bezos - reportedly worth more than $164bn - has faced criticism for not doing more philanthropic work.

He said the cash will also provide funding to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship" pre-schools in "underserved communities".

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 and his wife MacKenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, run by his parents.

The fight soured many more locals on Amazon and Bezos, and also overshadowed the growing portfolio of philanthropy they had done in the city. 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.