Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos says he will commit $2 billion to helping homeless families and starting preschools for low-income communities.
Earlier this year, under pressure from Amazon and other large employers, Seattle's City Council repealed an employee head tax created to provide housing and services for the homeless.
While communities across the country earned looks from Amazon, the D.C. region has always been viewed as a favorite to earn Amazon's new headquarters after the company listed Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. among its 20 finalists in January.
Discussing the preschools he would be funding, Bezos said he would focus on children the way Amazon does its customers. His net worth has risen about $65 billion this year alone as Amazon's shares surged.
The Bezos cash injection follows the philanthropic efforts of other billionaires including Microsoft's Bill Gates, who has donated tens of billions to his foundation.
Bezos asked for suggestions for philanthropic focuses in a tweet past year.
The missive set off a frenzy of responses, including pleas to support health care, loan forgiveness and even offbeat appeals to back a leather fetish museum in Chicago.
But Bezos did receive kudos today for taking an important step into philanthropy.
"People are interested in trying to help the world in so many different ways", he said. The Washington Posts top editor has said that Mr. Bezos has no involvement in its news coverage. But in the world of ultra-rich tech philanthropists, it's roughly on par with other do-gooding efforts.
I want to close be thanking everyone who sent me suggestions, and for the inspiring examples of innovation I see every day, large and small. "If you can give somebody a leg up when they're 2, 3 or 4 years old, by the time they get to kindergarten of first grade, they're much less likely to fall behind". Zuckerberg's shares in the social network are now valued at about US$61 billion.
Gates has also, with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, encouraged wealthy individuals to pledge half their fortunes to worthy causes.
With a personal fortune of nearly $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon chief executive officer had been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy.
Take the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
The fight soured many more locals on Amazon and Bezos, and also overshadowed the growing portfolio of philanthropy they had done in the city.