Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, announced on Twitter on Thursday a $2 billion philanthropic commitment to two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families and creating a network of nonprofit preschools in underserved communities.
The announcement of a $2 billion fund, called the Bezos Day One Fund, comes 15 months after Bezos first requested ideas, also on Twitter, for where he should focus his charitable giving. The Amazon founder tweeted in June this year that he had made a decision and said he would announce details by the end of the summer.
Using Amazon’s closing price of $1,990 per share on Wednesday, it would take a gift of just over 1 million Amazon shares to put $2 billion into Bezos Day One Fund. That would still leave Bezos with nearly 78 million shares.
In his announcement, Bezos described two groups within the Bezos Day One Fund: the Day 1 Families Fund and the Day 1 Academies Fund. The first will go help nonprofits such as Mary’s Place, a Seattle-based organization that provides night shelters and day care centers for homeless families.
The Day 1 Academies Fund, meanwhile, will fund the launch of a network of Montessori-inspired preschools in low-income areas. The Montessori method of education is a century-old approach that includes hands-on learning and self-directed activity to encourage a child’s own interests. According to the American Montessori Society, there are over 4,000 Montessori schools in the country.
The Bezos Day One Fund will be by far his largest philanthropic effort. He gave $33 million in January to nonprofit education group TheDream.US to fund college scholarships for 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school students living in the country with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. He made the gift after the organization’s founder, Don Graham, replied to Bezos’ June 2017 tweet asking for charitable giving ideas.
Bezos also entered the arena of political giving in early September, announcing a $10 million gift to a nonpartisan super PAC called With Honor, which is seeking to get 20 veterans on either side of the political spectrum elected into the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2018 midterms.
While his parents, Jacklyn and Miguel Bezos, operate the Bezos Family Foundation and contributed $75 million worth of Amazon stock from 2014 to 2016 alone to the philanthropic vehicle, the Amazon founder himself is less involved. He and his wife, Mackenzie, gave $5 million worth of Amazon stock towards the foundation in 2015, documents show.
The name of the fund—Day One—refers to the Amazon founder’s mentality of always operating his e-commerce behemoth as if it were still the first day of business. Since the company’s went public in 1997, Bezos, in his annual letter to shareholders, has always attached a copy of the first shareholder letter.
Bezos did not say whether the Day One Fund would be a traditional foundation or a limited liability company. Mark Zuckerberg and Laurene Powell Jobs are primarily using LLCs as vehicles for their philanthropy; doing so means there is less transparency about which organizations receive grants and the size of those grants.