Amazon’s Bezos says Trump should be ‘glad’ of media scrutiny

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Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos launched a US$2 billion fund to help homeless families and create a network of non-profit preschools in low-income communities.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to launch a $2bn (£1.53bn) fund to help homeless families and launch pre-schools in poor communities.

A separate "Academies Fund" would open and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities", he wrote.

Mr Bezos, the world's richest person, announced the scheme on Twitter a year after asking for ideas on how he could use his fortune, estimated at $163 billion, for charitable efforts. "The media is going to be fine", he said during the conversation with economic club president David Rubenstein.

Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC's "Milestone Celebration Dinner" in Washington on September 13, 2018.

Despite his "world's wealthiest man" title, Bezos isn't known for his philanthropy in the same way as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, often preferring to focus on long-term initiatives. "We will announce a decision before the end of this year", Bezos said.

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Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy. Earlier this year, the company partnered with the Seattle nonprofit Mary's Place to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters.

He also operates the private space exploration firm Blue Origin and owns The Washington Post newspaper.

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

Many on Twitter, however, did not hurry to heap praise on Bezos' new endeavor, pointing out Amazon's practices of underpaying its workers and forcing employees to work in stuffy warehouses without air conditioning.

He said he did not know how much money he would eventually give away. "What the president should say is, 'This is right, I'm glad I'm being scrutinised.' That would be so secure and confident".

Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online book store more than two decades ago, has seen his wealth surge along with Amazon's stock.