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

Jo Lloyd
September 14, 2018

The Amazon founder, the world's wealthiest person, said Thursday on Twitter that he would commit $2 billion to fund existing nonprofits working to help homeless families and create a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.

Mr Bezos asked on Twitter last year for suggestions on how he might use his personal fortune, which this year has soared due to Amazon's surging share price and USA tax cuts. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession.

Many on Twitter, however, did not hurry to heap praise on Bezos' new endeavor, pointing out Amazon's practices of underpaying its workers and forcing employees to work in stuffy warehouses without air conditioning. Since March 2016, Amazon customers have also been able to order items from the Mary's Place's wishlist on the site, such as diapers and socks. With #PJammin, scores of Amazon employees joined their boss to support the cause and drive attention to raise awareness.

He said the cash will also provide funding to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship" pre-schools in "underserved communities". His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon's shares have surged.

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.

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 company's push to build a second home base highlights how massively Amazon has expanded during its 20-plus year history.

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

The private non-profit foundation in its 2016 tax filing reported almost $46 million U.S. in assets, and giving away $30 million USA in grants support its missions in early education, K-12 schools reform and youth leadership development and scholarships.

Despite his concerns with Trump, Bezos said that he was not overly concerned about the future of the news media.

Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and previous year acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

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