Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos has said he is giving US$2 billion to start a fund that will open pre-schools in low-income neighborhoods and give money to non-profit groups which help homeless families.
Mr Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about US$160 billion, says he will call it the Bezos Day One Fund.
An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed that the money would all come from Bezos, though there are few details about how the fund will operate.
In a post to his Twitter account, Mr Bezos said one part of the fund will give money to organizations and groups that provide shelter and food to young homeless families.
The other part will launch and operate free pre-schools in low-income communities, where “the child will be the customer”.
It is not yet known what his preschools will look like except that they will be based on the teaching philosophy of Maria Montessori, which focuses on play-based learning that caters to individuality and social-emotional development.
Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online book store more than two decades ago, has seen his wealth surge along with Amazon’s stock.
Forbes magazine placed him at the top of its list of billionaires for the first time this year, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett.
Bezos’ wealth has allowed him to pay for side ventures, including starting space exploration company Blue Origin and buying The Washington Post newspaper.
Bezos hinted earlier this year that he would take on a major philanthropic project after asking his Twitter followers for ideas on how to give away his money. In January, Mr Bezos also personally gave US$ 33 million in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the US illegally.