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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Launches $2 Billion Fund to Combat Homelessness, Create Preschools

“The child will be the customer,” says Bezos

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos announced Wednesday he and his wife MacKenzie have committed $2 billion to launching a fund to help homeless families and create preschools in lower-income neighborhoods.

The investment will be split equally between financing existing organizations that combat homelessness and its new preschool initiative. The most important principle will “be genuine, intense customer obsession,” Bezos tweeted, where “the child will be the customer.” The “Day One Fund” takes its name from a favorite Bezos expression, with the 54-year-old exec always aiming to have a hungry, “day one” startup attitude.

“The Day 1 Families fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families,” Bezos said in his statement. “The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleep behind.”

The announcement is the latest charitable donation from Bezos, after the Amazon co-founder has seen his net worth balloon to a staggering $150 billion in 2018. Last week he donated $10 million to a non-partisan group working to elect military veterans in the upcoming 2018 U.S. midterm election. Bezos also pledged $33 million for undocumented immigrants to attend college earlier this year.

The “Day One Fund” also launches amid mounting criticism of Amazon and Bezos. The e-commerce giant has battled with its hometown of Seattle over taxes, and has been lambasted by Sen. Bernie Sanders for paying its facility workers substandard wages — a claim Amazon has pushed back against.