Read Jeff Bezos' full statement about his $2 billion Day One fund

Irving Hamilton
September 14, 2018

Trump has repeatedly said without evidence that package deliveries by the US Postal Service for Amazon were costing the service money. Recall also that Amazon lobbied hard (and successfully) to repeal a progressive tax in its home city of Seattle that would have taken funds from large corporations and earmarked it to combat the region's epidemic of homelessness.

Bezos hasn't said how much he'll be contributing to the fund in coming years.

The head tax or employee tax would have applied to companies making more than $20 million annually in gross receipts.

While communities across the country earned looks from Amazon, the D.C. region has always been viewed as a favorite to earn Amazon's new headquarters after the company listed Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. among its 20 finalists in January. Previous to the creation of the Day One Fund, Bezos and his family had donated only $135 million to charities, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a nonprofit providing scholarships for the children of parents who immigrated the USA illegally and most recently to a bi-partisan organization that gives campaign support to veterans running for political office.

Mr Bezos, who operates the Blue Origin space rocket project and who owns the Washington Post newspaper, has given donations to a scheme to help the children of immigrants, cancer research, and Princeton University.

More than a year ago, Bezos posted to Twitter a request for suggestions on philanthropic initiatives created to make a difference in the short term.

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The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos, whose fortune has soared to more than $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon.

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

"We're hoping that local, state and federal governments see this as a call to invest more in preschool and childcare", he said. "It's also the social norms that protect us".

It also falls short of the "giving pledge" initiative launched by Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who have encouraged wealthy individuals to pledge half their fortunes for philanthropy.

Last week, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and China's richest man, announced plans to step down and focus more on a new foundation that he said was inspired in part by Gates' example.

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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