Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the homeless

While he has financially supported cancer research and scholarships for immigrants, among other causes, Bezos has primarily devoted his fortune to his Blue Origin rocket company, which he described Thursday as an "investment in the future of our planet through the development of foundational space infrastructure".

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seems to be Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's arch-nemesis, so it only makes sense that she would have something to say about the entrepreneur's $2 billion charitable fund toward homelessness and education.

Bezos's fortune comes mainly from his stake in Amazon, the diversified online firm which briefly hit $1 trillion in market value this month and is the second most valuable company after Apple.

Bezos's personal wealth has soared with the value of Amazon, whose stock price has doubled over the past year with its expansion into new sectors and geographies. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators. The most notable involving more than $40 million USA to the local nonprofit FareStart - a hospitality training program and restaurant business that aims to combat homelessness and poverty - and Mary's Place, whose mission to find and provide shelter for every child. He has not signed on to the Giving Pledge, and the Bezos Family Foundation is reportedly run by his parents; Bezos does not play an active role.

"He's a pretty unbelievable neighbour, him and [his wife] MacKenzie", said Mary's Place director Marty Hartman.

"We will build an organisation to directly operate these schools".

The announcement, made through a statement from Bezos, comes after the executive reached out previous year to ask for suggestions on approaches to philanthropy. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million United States in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally. This year, Gates also announced it was taking up systemic poverty in the U.S.

Vanessa Coleman

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