September 22, 2020
Bezos charity to open first preschool in US
Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said Tuesday that the first free preschool backed by his philanthropic fund will open next month to disadvantaged children in the US internet giant's home state.
Bezos posted a photo of a new classroom with children's books on shelves and carpets on the floor on Instagram, saying the first Bezos Academy set to open on October 19 is just the beginning.
"This one in Des Moines (Washington) is the first of many free preschools that we'll be opening for underserved children," Bezos said in the post.
"Extra kudos to the team for figuring out how to make this happen even amidst Covid, and to Wesley Homes for stepping up with the facility."
The academy will make its debut as schools throughout the US rely on remote-teaching and grapple with how to safely get children back into classrooms during the pandemic.
The opening comes two years after billionaire Bezos announced the creation of a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and launch preschools in low-income communities, committing an initial $2 billion.
The "Bezos Day One Fund" created by Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie will focus on two areas: helping "existing nonprofits that help homeless families" and funding "a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities," he wrote.
The fund aims to launch and operate "a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities," according to Bezos.
Bezos has said early childhood education is a critical area and that "the money spent there is going to pay gigantic dividends for decades."
He said when the foundation was established that the schools would "use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon" and that "the child will be the customer."
Bezos, the world's richest person with a net worth soaring as high as $190 billion from his Amazon stake, had previously asked Twitter users for ideas on philanthropic causes.
© 2020 AFP