Jeff Bezos donates $169 million to help fight homelessness in US, Puerto Rico

Billionaire Jeff Bezos had said he plans to give away the bulk of his fortune during his lifetime. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON – Mr Jeff Bezos is giving US$123 million (S$169 million) to organisations that work to move homeless families into permanent housing.

The grants to 40 groups in 26 US states and Puerto Rico – ranging from US$600,000 to US$5 million – are the latest and largest awards from Mr Bezos’ Day One Fund, which was founded in 2018.

The donations are effective immediately and are part of a US$2 billion total commitment to fighting homelessness, the Day One Fund said on Tuesday.

Mr Bezos, 58, the founder of e-commerce giant Amazon, said in early November he plans to give away the bulk of his fortune during his lifetime, with most of his philanthropy focused on fighting climate change and supporting those who seek to unify others.

With a net worth of US$115.6 billion, Mr Bezos is the world’s fourth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

For years, he largely stayed on the philanthropy sidelines and drew criticism for not signing the Giving Pledge, a promise by many of the world’s richest people to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.

Earlier in November, Mr Bezos named Dolly Parton the latest recipient of his Courage and Civility award, giving the music legend US$100 million to direct to any charities she chooses.

He previously awarded similar amounts to chef Jose Andres, whose World Central Kitchen feeds people in disaster-stricken areas, and Mr Van Jones, the founder of Dream.Org, a non-profit organisation. BLOOMBERG

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