Amazon's Jeff Bezos to start $2B United States charitable fund

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Insanely rich human being Jeff Bezos announced today his intention to do something he rarely ever does: philanthropy. "Most important of those will be genuine, intense customer obsession".

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.

Bezos and Amazon's board of directors are convening in Washington, D.C., this week ahead of a series of high-profile appearances for Bezos, who also is the owner of the Washington Post, among other personal properties.

The fund will also seek to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities", he wrote.

Another brought up the fact that Amazon strong-armed the Seattle city council to abandon the plan to tax the company in order to raise funds for tackling the mounting homelessness crisis.

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.

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Even so, Amazon insisted it was "deeply committed" to tackling homelessness in Seattle and said it would continue to invest in local nonprofits that work with the homeless.

Bezos solicited ideas on Twitter past year for ways to donate some of his wealth.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the money will all come from Bezos, though there are few details about how the fund will operate. Outside of that, Bezos and his family's known donations have included gifts to Princeton University and Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. "The media is going to be fine", he said during the conversation with economic club president David Rubenstein.

He added that "we live in a society where it's not just the laws of the land that protect us... it's also the social norms that protect us".

Bezos has yet to sign the Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Gates encouraging billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth. Some activists and politicians have partly blamed the city's problems on Amazon.

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