Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launches a $2 bln philanthropic fund

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Bezos, who Forbes estimates is worth $163 billion, is the wealthiest person in modern history.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday announced a new $2 billion philanthropic fund to finance a new network of preschools and contribute to nonprofits assisting homeless families. The most notable involving more than $40 million U.S. to the local nonprofit FareStart - a hospitality training program and restaurant business that aims to combat homelessness and poverty - and Mary's Place, whose mission to find and provide shelter for every child.

"We'll use the same set of principals that have driven Amazon", wrote Bezos of the preschool management. Citing the Amazon mantra of customer obsession, Bezos said in a tweet, "The child will be the customer." "The child will be the customer".

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With a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive officer had previously been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy.

According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon's e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of United States online retail sales and almost five percent of all retail spending.

"I'm thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now-short term-at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact", he wrote at the time.

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"The Bezos Family Foundation - and Jeff obviously has a role in that - has been engaged with early learning initiatives for years now", Burgess said, adding that it could only help the political momentum toward universal pre-K, as Seattle's preschool program is also once again on the ballot in November.

Among the world's top tech CEOs, Bezos is not known for his philanthropy.

Geek Wire reports that as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Amazon has also rolled out a specially branded Prime Air jet and made charitable donations to two institutions working toward better awareness of childhood cancer. In 2016, it renovated a vacant hotel on land designated for its new headquarters so it could be used temporarily by the nonprofit group Mary's Place to give shelter to 200 homeless families.

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