Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the 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

Bezos, with an estimated fortune of more than $160 billion, is now the world's wealthiest man, according to Forbes.

For the homeless, grants will be given to organizations "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the needs of young families", Bezos said.

The Day 1 Families Fund will start an organisation to operate a new network of full-scholarship preschools for low-income 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 United States between kids aged 4 and 14.

Citing the Amazon mantra of customer obsession, Bezos said in a tweet "the child will be the customer". "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month", he wrote saying Amazon employees around the globe will be wearing pjs to work to show their solidarity and support to children suffering from the deadly disease.

By choosing to focus his philanthropy on homelessness and early education, Bezos is likely influenced both by his parents's Bezos Family Foundation and by his adopted hometown of Seattle, however mixed some people there may feel about the city's growing affordability crisis that's been largely attributed to the success of Amazon.

It is not surprising that the world's richest person "is finally getting serious about philanthropy", said David Callahan, founder of website Inside Philanthropy.

The staggering fortunes of the likes of Bezos, Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have created a second Gilded Age in the USA and "a new generation of megagivers", Callahan said.

It's good that Bezos understands that there is a poverty problem, but by throwing his money at third-party organizations-and not focusing on fixing the systemic income gaps his company creates-he is only further proving the point of those who critique the tone-deafness of tech billionaires.

In places like China and the Middle East, where public acts of charity are less common, the wealthy are starting to formalise their giving.

Bezos's personal wealth has soared with the value of Amazon, whose stock price has doubled over the past year with its expansion into new sectors and geographies.

Amazon has a history of supporting homeless programs in Seattle.

In 2016, Amazon renovated a vacant hotel on land designated for its new headquarters so it could be used temporarily by the non-profit Mary's Place to shelter 200 homeless families.

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