CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced on Thursday his plans for a $2 billion philanthropic commitment. The commitment reaches to two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families and creating a network of nonprofit preschools in underserved communities. The richest person on the planet calls the fund “Bezos Day One Fund,” which comes 15 months after Bezos initially requested ideas on Twitter for where he should focus his charitable giving.
Bezos tweeted in June this year that he finally came to a conclusion and would announce details by the end of the summer.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) June 14, 2018
Amazon’s closing price per share as of Wednesday is $1,990, meaning it would take a gift of over 1 million Amazon shares to put $2 billion into Bezos Day One Fund. Even with those shares, it still leaves Bezos with nearly 78 million shares.
Bezos described two groups within the Bezos Day One Fund in his announcement on Thursday. “MacKenzie and I share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others,” Bezos said in a tweet, referring to his wife MacKenzie Bezos.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) September 13, 2018
The first is the Day 1 Families Fund and the second is the Day 1 Academies Fund. The Day 1 Families Fund will help nonprofits such as Mary’s Place, a Seattle-based organization that provides night shelters and day care centers for homeless families.
The second, the Day 1 Academies Fund, will fund the launch of a network of Montessori-inspired preschools in low-income areas. The Montessori method of education is a century-old approach that includes hands-on learning and self-directed activity to encourage a child’s own interests. There aren’t many rules involved, other than the child directs their own play and portrays items based on within. According to the American Montessori Society, there are over 4,000 Montessori schools in the country.
The Amazon founder’s Bezos Day One Fund will be his largest philanthropic effort to date. He donated $33 million in January to a nonprofit education group TheDream.US, according to Forbes, to fund college scholarships for 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school students living in the country with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. Bezos offered the gift after the organization’s founder replied to Bezos’ tweet seeking charitable ideas.
Bezos’ charitable efforts go beyond his present ideas as well. In early September, he announced a $10 million gift to a nonpartisan super PAC called With Honor. With Honor is currently seeking to collect 20 veterans on either side of the political spectrum, elected into the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 midterms.
Jeff Bezos’ parents, Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos, are the two behind the Bezos Family Foundation and even contributed $75 million worth of Amazon stock from 2014 to 2016 to the philanthropic vehicle. According to documents, Jeff and his wide Mackenzie, donated $70 million less than his parents towards the foundation in 2015.