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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.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.