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

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos plans to open and fund nursery schools in low income areas, promising that poor children would be treated like Amazon customers.

Mr Bezos asked on Twitter last year for suggestions on how he might use his personal fortune, which this year has soared due to Amazon's surging share price and U.S. tax cuts.

The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations that are doing "needle-moving" work to provide shelter and hunger support for families with young children. The fund will also launch and operate a network of high-quality Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.

Bezos is worth $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a sum mostly derived from the about 16 percent stake in Amazon that he owns.

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Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online book store more than two decades ago, has seen his wealth surge along with Amazon's stock. 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. "Never have I been more comfortable at an Amazon board meeting!" "We will build an organization to directly operate these schools", he added.

Bezos thanked people for sending in suggestions about what he should spend money on. When Seattle passed a tax in May on large companies to fight the city's growing homelessness crisis, Amazon balked and even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its headquarters.

Last year, he donated $33 million to fund scholarship for "dreamers", the name given to undocumented children of immigrants who face legal obstacles in attending college or university. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators.

Bezos has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Gates encouraging billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth.

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