The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, is giving nearly $100 million to address homelessness in America in what amounts to his biggest publicly-announced charitable donation yet.
The Amazon founder and CEO outlined his plans to give $97.5 million to two dozen nonprofits around the country that are providing services to the homeless. This is the first round of giving that Bezos will conduct as part of his Day One Fund, announced in September, in which he pledged $2 billion to help homeless families and create Montessori-inspired preschools. (Bezos attended a Montessori school.)
The nonprofits that will receive funding are located in places like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Omaha, where they operate emergency and short-term shelters and also help families move into permanent housing. Each organization will receive $2.5 million or $5 million from the Day 1 Families Fund. The money will be used to help the organizations “expand the scope and impact of their efforts,” according to a statement.
“Congrats to the recipients—we know you’ll spend the money wisely and with heart,” wrote Bezos in a tweet.
The $100 million in donations amounts to the largest disclosed sum of money that Bezos has given away yet. The biggest gift was previously the $33 million he donated to fund college scholarships for 1,000 undocumented immigrant high school students who live in the U.S. with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status. Other previous gifts include $15 million to his alma mater Princeton University and $10 million to the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. He also donated $11.5 million in Amazon stock to an unnamed nonprofit organization last week, according to a regulatory filing.
This is also the first time Bezos has supported services for the homeless. Amazon has previously come out against a corporate tax in its hometown of Seattle that would raise money for homeless programs. The tax was repealed in June by the city council, a month after it was instated, following significant pressure from Amazon and other businesses.
In a statement, Bezos said he worked with a dozen experts across the nonprofit and government sectors to decide which organizations to fund. He has yet to come out with concrete plans for the Day 1 Academies Fund, for which he will create a network of Montessori-inspired preschools in low-income areas.