Jeff Bezos donated $100 million to fighting homelessness — and in an unusual move, he's letting the charities control how it's spent (AMZN)

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Bezos said that he is giving $2 billion to start the Bezos Day One Fund which will open preschools in low-income neighborhoods and give money to nonprofits that helps homeless families.

  • Amazon CEO
    Jeff
    Bezos
    is acting as a hands-off philanthropist with his Day 1
    Families Fund. 
  • Through the fund, Bezos gave nearly $100 million to 24
    nonprofits working to combat family homelessness in the US. Now,
    he’s leaving millions of dollars at the discretion of each charity,

    Recode
    reported.
  • Typically, funders are stringent with their donations,
    restricting how the money can be spent and asking for quarterly
    updates. Bezos hasn’t specified how his donations should be spent,
    other than combatting homelessness, and he’s only asked for one
    update per year.
  • Bezos’ unconventional, laissez-faire approach to philanthropy
    could garner criticism, but the charities he is serving are both
    baffled and delighted.
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is acting as a hands-off philanthropist:
he’s given nearly $100 million to charities combatting family
homelessness, and now he’s leaving the millions of dollars at their
discretion, Recode
reports
.

Bezos
launched
the $2 billion Bezos Day One Fund in September 2018. It
currently has two projects: the Day 1 Families Fund, which includes
the annual leadership awards given to the 24 charities combatting
homelessness; and the Day 1 Academies Fund, which is launching a
nonprofit that will eventually open preschools in underserved
communities.

Typically, funders are stringent with their donations to
nonprofit charities, restricting how the money can be allocated and
asking for quarterly updates. Bezos is instead taking a
laissez-faire approach: the
richest person in the world
hasn’t specified how his donations
should be spent, other than the broad directive of combatting
homelessness, and he’s only asked for one update per year,
according to Recode.

Of the recipient charities, 15 received $5 million grants, and
the remaining nine received $2.5 million grants.

Bezos historically
hasn’t prioritized philanthropy
. In 2017, The New York Times

reported
that Bezos had only given about 1% of his wealth to
charity. Notably, Bezos has not signed The Giving Pledge, a pledge
created by Bill and Melinda Gates with Warren Buffett that
signifies a commitment of wealthy individuals to give more than
half of their wealth towards philanthropy. Tech execs including
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Larry Ellison, and
Reed Hastings have all
signed
the pledge. Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos — who
is now
considered
the third-richest woman in the world — signed the
pledge in May 2019. 

Read more:
MacKenzie Bezos is officially Amazon’s second-largest individual
shareholder and the third-wealthiest woman in the world

Bezos’ scouting process for the recipients of the Day 1 Families
Fund grants was also non-traditional. Foundations typically
announce grants and accept applications from prospective recipient
nonprofits. In the case of the Day 1 Families Fund grants, Recode
reported that an advisory board composed of eight experts in
homelessness put together a shortlist of prospective charities and
invited them to apply for the grants. (One charity head told Recode
that she was called directly by Bezos’ personal attorney, Paul
Dauber, inviting her to apply). The bulk of the application was a
simple, 500-word essay for charities to describe how they would
spend the millions of dollars from the grant to combat family
homelessness.

Recode notes that Bezos’ laissez-faire approach could have
downsides, however: the recipient nonprofits could flop even after
receiving these enormous grants, and inadequate monitoring from the
Day 1 Fund could lead to “mishaps,” the head of CharityWatch, an
organization that monitors how efficiently nonprofits use
donations, told Recode.

Here’s the full list of 2018
Day 1 Families Fund Awardees: 

  1. Abode Services, Fremont, CA • $5
    million
  2. Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans,
    New Orleans, LA • $5 million
  3. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of
    Miami
    , Miami, FL • $5 million
  4. Catholic Community Services of Western
    Washington
    , Tacoma, WA • $5 million
  5. Community of Hope, Washington, DC • $5
    million
  6. Community Rebuilders, Grand
    Rapids, MI • $5 million
  7. Crossroads Rhode Island, Providence, RI • $5
    million
  8. District Alliance for Safe Housing
    (DASH)
    , Washington, DC • $2.5
    million
  9. Emerald Development and Economic Network,
    Cleveland, OH • $2.5 million
  10. FrontLine Service, Cleveland, OH • $2.5
    million
  11. Hamilton Families, San Francisco, CA • $2.5
    million
  12. Heartland Family Service, Omaha, NE • $5
    million
  13. Housing Families First, Henrico, VA • $2.5
    million
  14. JOIN, Portland, OR • $5 million
  15. LA Family Housing, North Hollywood, CA • $5
    million
  16. Northern Virginia Family Service, Oakton, VA
    • $2.5 million
  17. Primo Center for Women and Children, Chicago,
    IL • $2.5 million
  18. Refugee Women’s Alliance, Seattle, WA • $2.5
    million
  19. SEARCH Homeless Services, Houston, TX • $5
    million
  20. Simpson Housing Services, Minneapolis, MN •
    $2.5 million
  21. The Salvation Army, Center of Hope, Charlotte,
    NC • $5 million
  22. The Salvation Army of Greater Houston,
    Houston, TX • $5 million
  23. UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix, AZ • $5
    million
  24. Urban Resource Institute, New York, NY • $5
    million

SEE ALSO: 41
photos of Amazon’s incredible journey from the dot-com crash to a
trillion-dollar company


Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH:
The incredible story behind Slack, the app that’s taken over
offices everywhere

Source: FS – All Tech News
Jeff Bezos donated 0 million to fighting homelessness — and in an unusual move, he's letting the charities control how it's spent (AMZN)