Even though he may no longer be the richest man globally, with a mere $1 billion less than Tesla’s Elon Musk and his $185B, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has not let his dip in net worth affect his philanthropic goals.
Instead, Amazon has decided to provide easier means to affordable housing in Tennessee, Nashville, and Arlington, VA, the three areas where its main headquarters are located. The goal of his House Equity Fund is to address some of the inequalities faced by low-income families who struggle with rising costs of living caused by incoming tech companies; this will be done by offering options such as low-cost loans and lines of credit to those who earn substantially less than the median income.
Apple, Google, and Facebook each have their own similar operations, and they are dedicating at least $1 billion towards their efforts so far. But Amazon is upping the ante and looking to double that.
In a statement about the initiative, Bezos said:
“Amazon has a long-standing commitment to helping people in need, including the Mary’s Place family shelter we built inside our Puget Sound headquarters. The shelter now supports over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness every night… This new $2 billion Housing Equity Fund will create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes in all three of our headquarters regions—Arlington, Puget Sound, and Nashville. It will also help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong, inclusive communities.”
This goodwill gesture may be a reaction to the soured plan for Amazon to move one of its headquarters to Queens, NY in 2019. At that time, there was a lot of concern that a move to Long Island City would not be the boon advertised for those already living there. Political pressure about the potential gentrification, inflated costs of living, and unnecessary excess congestion led Amazon to execute an about-face and eventually consider other alternatives.
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