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. Literacy is primary focus for supporting the system and the students within it.
For the Bezos Family Foundation, "transformation" is the watchword. The foundation looks for the programs it supports to provide transformative experiences for youth. This means excellence in educational content, quality environments, civic engagement, exposure to a global perspective, and confident social and personal growth. All of these factors play into the foundation's support of literacy programs.
Recent grantees in the literacy realm include:
- Los Angeles Fund for Public Education-LightSail: supporting a book library for students in LAUSD schools for this "interactive literacy platform for grades K-12 that supports student literacy growth (and a love of reading) and provides actionable data to teachers and administrators."
- Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (Washington, DC): supporting "efforts to increase the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade by at least 100 percent in a dozen or more states."
- Raising a Reader National (Redwood City, CA): supporting their Digital Pilot program, which tests distributing programs through a digital platform.
- Westchester Jewish Community Services (Garden City, NY): supporting low-income family access to their Parent Child Home Program, which "strengthens families and prepares children for academic success through an innovative center and home-based literacy program."
As you can start to see from this list, the Bezos Family Foundation’s literacy grantees work throughout the country. 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.