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Bezos. Photo: Brent Lewis/Denver Post/Getty

For centuries, business titans have risen in acts of ruthlessness, then washed their reputations in shows of charity, endowing monuments like libraries (Carnegie), museums (Getty), universities (Rockefeller) and plain-old philanthropies (Ford).

Not Jeff Bezos. For now, the Amazon kingpin says he plans to donate a tiny part of his $160 billion fortune, and continue to do business with the rest.

Between the lines: Yesterday, Bezos announced The Day One Fund, committing $2 billion — or 1.25% of his fortune — to family homeless shelters and Montessori-style preschools in underserved communities, or 0.01% of his fortune.

  • By comparison, Bill Gates has endowed the foundation he shares with his wife Melinda with $50 billion. Warren Buffett has donated $34 billion since 2006, and plans to give away his whole fortune, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has committed $45 billion.

The big picture: Bezos explains that he is seeking long-term impact through ventures like his space exploration company.

"I'm going to give away a lot of money in a non-profit model, but I'm also going to invest a lot of money in something that most investors might say is a terrible investment — like Blue Origin — but that I think is important."
— Bezos in Washington, DC, last night

"For the first time in history, we're big compared to the face of the planet," Bezos said. We have two choices as humans, he said: stop growing now, and keep population and energy consumption constant, or move into the solar system.

  • Bezos likes option No. 2. And he dreams of his company being the one to get us there.

Maybe Blue Origin won't be profitable, and he will turn it into a non-profit, Bezos said. But he hopes it will make a killing.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

The bomb cyclone and atmospheric river seen via satellite on Sunday. The center of the storm is at the middle of the comma shape, due west of Washington State. (CIRA/RAMMB)

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and Sen. Joe Manchin at the U.S. Capitol in 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.