Last week, Amazon founder, CEO, and richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, announced that he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, were donating $97.5 million to 24 organizations that provide homeless services across the country. The donation is part of Bezos’s $2 billion “Day 1 Fund,” a philanthropic endeavor announced in September that, according to Bezos, focuses on establishing “a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities” and funding existing nonprofits that provide homeless services.
Of those 24 organizations, 15 will receive $5 million grants; nine will receive $2.5 million. Notably, three of the grant recipients are in Washington, DC, and another is in northern Virginia, where Amazon plans to open half of its “second headquarters.” Only one organization is based in New York City, the other site of Amazon’s forthcoming HQ2 office.
It’s noteworthy that instead of dedicating the bulk of his charitable giving to organizations based in the cities that will soon house tens of thousands of Amazon employees — and, if critics’ fears are to be believed, doing so at the expense of longtime residents, many of whom are working-class — Bezos instead chose to spread his wealth around the country. More troublingly, though, the Day 1 fund suggests that Bezos, like other billionaire philanthropists before him, think the problems of homelessness, poverty, and displacement should be solved by a network of donors and nonprofits — and not by elected officials.
Bezos’s actions in Amazon’s home city of Seattle exemplify his approach to addressing problems of poverty and inequality: namely, that he prefers to do it on his own terms.
Read more starting at ‘Jeff Bezos’s philanthropic model: whatever the government can do, nonprofits and the private sector can do better’ at……
Jeff Bezos’s philanthropic projects aren’t as generous as they seem