The Bezos Family Foundation is the philanthropic passion project of Jackie and Miguel (Mike) Bezos—all bankrolled with shares of their Amazon stock. The foundation’s annual grantmaking has been growing lately, hitting $14.4 million in 2012, with all of it devoted to improving U.S. public education and the students it serves.
One avenue of supporting those students is a focus on Youth Leadership and Global Engagement. The Bezos Family Foundation pursues this avenue of giving not only to support students, but in mindfulness of the world these students will be inheriting. As the foundation states:
Young people are moments away from inheriting complex social problems. Yet, too often we underestimate students’ ability to contribute to the dialogue shaping future solutions and overlook them as a source of innovative ideas.
The Bezos Family Foundation doesn't overlook young people, but rather partners with other nonprofit organizations that are developing their leadership skills and worldliness on a global scale. Grantees include:
- School of Leadership Afghanistan (Kabul): supporting "education and leadership opportunities for the next generation of Afghan women, imbuing them with a sense of service and commitment to their community in order to bring about a progressive and prosperous future."
education and leadership opportunities for the next generation of Afghan women, imbuing them with a sense of service and commitment to their community in order to bring about a progressive and prosperous future - See more at: http://bezosfamilyfoundation.org/partners/youth-leadership-and-global-engagement#sthash.k7Vzldcd.dpuf
- Aspen Writers Foundation (Aspen, CO ): supporting Story Swap, which "fosters dialogue between classrooms and promotes youth leadership development through the process of storytelling."
- Global Visionaries (Seattle, WA): supporting the Global Leadership Summer Institute and Teacher Professional Development for this "youth-led organization that challenges young people to become socially and environmentally conscious global citizens and leaders."
- Soliya (New York, NY): supporting its Catalyzing Virtual Exchange initiative, "an effort to dramatically scale up the opportunities for young people to make meaningful connections with one another across the world through technology-enabled virtual exchanges."
As you can start to see from this list, the Bezos Family Foundation’s grantees work throughout the country (and the world). But there is also an emphasis in Washington (Bezos’ home state).
However, without direct access to the Bezos clan or its small group of staff, this funding source is a difficult one to crack. The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, or even unsolicited inquiries.