The new philanthropic effort is called the Bezos Day One Fund, a nod to the executive's management philosophy that organizations must view every day with the fervor of a new start, or face stagnation and decline.
Bezos said the schools would "use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon" and that "the child will be the customer".
Last year Mr Bezos solicited advice from the public via Twitter, asking how he could best use his wealth to help people "right now".
The Bezos "Day One Fund" will issue annual awards to organisations that are doing "compassionate, needle-moving work" to shelter and support the immediate needs of young families, the billionaire announced in a blog post Thursday. The other part will launch and operate free preschools in low-income communities, where "the child will be the customer".
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Bezos has yet to join "The Giving Pledge" created by fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose more than 180 signatories have promised to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy.
Launched in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has become a retail powerhouse operating globally, and has expanded into streaming video, music, cloud computing and other segments, and a year ago acquired the Whole Foods grocery chain. The most notable involving more than $40 million United States to the local nonprofit FareStart - a hospitality training program and restaurant business that aims to combat homelessness and poverty - and Mary's Place, whose mission to find and provide shelter for every child. The Amazon boss and his wife, who have four children, both serve on the foundation's board directors.
"We will build an organisation to directly operate these schools". It is a contrast to the long view that Bezos has preached at Amazon and Blue Origin, the space-travel technology company he has been funding with $1 billion a year through the sale of Amazon stock. In January, Bezos also personally gave $33 million USA in college scholarships for young immigrants living in the USA illegally.