Jeff Bezos launches $2-billion fund to help homeless families, build preschools

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the launch of a new $2 billion charitable fund Thursday, focused on fighting homelessness and providing quality education.

The new "Bezos Day One Fund" is the result; it'll work to issue "awards" to existing nonprofits that provide shelter and food to homeless young families.

Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion USA, says that he'll call it the Bezos Day One Fund. It is a contrast to the long view that Bezos has preached at Amazon and Blue Origin, the space-travel technology company he has been funding with $1 billion a year through the sale of Amazon stock.

He has also been criticized for not contributing his fortune to philanthropy like other billionaires have, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett. "We will build an organization to directly operate these schools", he added.

Mr Bezos - reportedly worth more than $164bn - has faced criticism for not doing more philanthropic work. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million USA in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

He has also made donations for cancer research and to Princeton University, his alma mater.

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An Amazon spokesman didn't have details on who would run Bezos' new initiative, or where the group would be based.

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 past year acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain.

According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon's e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of U.S. online retail sales and almost five percent of all retail spending. It also comes as tech giants like Amazon face the threat of tougher regulations to protect consumer privacy and complaints from the Republican-controlled Congress and White House over alleged liberal bias influencing how their offerings are presented to consumers.

Now that question has been answered, at least in part.

Amazon has selected 20 cities as "finalists" for the headquarters and has indicated it would make a decision by year-end.

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