Bezos says Amazon’s second headquarters will be revealed by end of 2018

Doug Carpenter
September 14, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who typically tries to stay out of the political fray, has mounted a vigorous defence of press freedom, saying President Donald Trump should be "glad" to face media scrutiny. The wealth that Bezos has amassed hasn't come without controversy, as many critics point to poor working conditions at his facilities while others say he doesn't do enough for the public good.

On Thursday, the founder and CEO of Amazon announced the creation of the Bezos Day One Fund, an initiative to create a network of free Montessori-based, preschools in under-resourced neighborhoods and to support groups benefiting homeless families. Previous to the creation of the Day One Fund, Bezos and his family had donated only $135 million to charities, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a nonprofit providing scholarships for the children of parents who immigrated the USA illegally and most recently to a bi-partisan organization that gives campaign support to veterans running for political office. "We will announce a decision before the end of this year", Bezos said.

Despite his fortune, Bezos has not been a major philanthropic donor and Amazon has been criticized in its home of Seattle, Washington, for doing little to address problems of the growing homeless population. Amazon warehouse employees are known to have very bad working conditions, pitiful wages, and have even been forced into homelessness after workplace injuries. "The child will be the customer", he wrote in his post. "The secret sauce of Amazon - the number one thing that has made us successful has by far is obsessive, compulsive focus on the customer".

Last year Bezos solicited advice from the public via Twitter, asking how he could best use his wealth to help people "right now".

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

The "Bezos Day One Fund" created by Bezos and his wife MacKenzie will focus on 2 areas: helping "existing nonprofits that help homeless families" and funding "a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities", he wrote. Amazon's digital assistant Alexa has helped drive its hardware sales and is used on smart devices ranging from cars to refrigerators. "But it is really unsafe to demonize the media".

Trump has referred to the Washington Post as Amazon's "chief lobbyist".

When asked about it, Bezos called it a "mistake" for any elected official to "attack media and journalists".

The announcement marks a deeper foray into philanthropy for Bezos, whose fortune has soared to more than $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon.

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

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