Bezos to launch network of preschools: 'The child will be the customer'

Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Bezos

Jeff Bezos said he and his wife Mackenzie 'share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others' Credit AP

Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, speaks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center's Forum on Leadership in Dallas, Texas, U.S., April 20, 2018.

For the homeless, grants will be given to organizations "doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the needs of young families", Bezos said.

The "Day 1 Academies Fund" will start an organization to operate a new network of full-scholarship pre-schools for low-income communities.

Bezos, the wealthiest person on the planet, whose stake in Amazon is now worth about $160 billion, says he'll call it the Bezos Day One Fund.

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.

The announcement, made through a statement from Bezos, comes after the executive reached out a year ago to ask for suggestions on approaches to philanthropy. The other part will launch and operate free preschools in low-income communities, where "the child will be the customer". Forbes magazine placed him at the top of its list of billionaires for the first time this year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.

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Along with running Amazon the tech mogul owns space exploration company Blue Origin and the Washington Post newspaper.

Bezos made the announcement Thursday in a tweet and a post on his Instagram account.

Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos sit on the board of the Bezos Family Foundation, run by his parents.

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.

Helping the homeless has also been a focus for Amazon. The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the world's largest private nonprofit foundation has an endowment worth over $40 billion USA and has long supported homelessness services for families in the city.

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