Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Pledge $2 Billion for Homeless and Preschoolers

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The Amazon founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, pledged $2 billion on Thursday for a new fund to help homeless families and start preschools.

The money, put into he what called the Day 1 Fund, is by far the largest philanthropic donation by Mr. Bezos, the world’s richest person. It will support organizations that provide shelter and food for homeless families and will start a network of nonprofit Montessori-inspired preschools for underserved communities.

“If our own great-grandchildren don’t have lives better than ours, something has gone very wrong,” Mr. Bezos wrote on Twitter in announcing the move.

As Mr. Bezos’s wealth has grown, he has faced increased public pressure to make significant philanthropic investments. His net worth is valued at $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and his largest known philanthropic contribution to date was $33 million in scholarships to support the education of undocumented students who graduated from high school in the United States.

In early September, he made his first major political contribution, putting $10 million into a bipartisan political action committee to support military veterans running for Congress.

Mr. Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, and has said he’s put about $1 billion a year into his private spaceflight company, Blue Origin.

Last summer, Mr. Bezos went on Twitter to ask the public for suggestions for how he should give away some of his wealth, and tens of thousands of people replied. He said he was interested in using philanthropy to solve problems of the “here and now,” as opposed to the long-term change he was seeking with his space and business ventures.

A year later, he said he had narrowed his focus to a few areas and would announce his plan this summer.

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