Without knowing the exact structure of the fund, the item’s unclear where the $2 billion will come through. If the item comes straight out of Bezos’s own pocket, which many assume the item will, he will be eligible for steep tax deductions. Thirty percent of the gift will be deductible if he sets up a private foundation; 50 percent if the item’s a donor-advised fund.
The bigger question will be the size of the fund, which will be smaller compared to what some other high net worth individuals within the tech industry, like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, have pledged to give back. Bezos hasn’t joined the Giving Pledge either, a well-known campaign of which has some of the entire world’s richest individuals commit to giving away the majority of their wealth.
Bezos, however, hinted in an interview Thursday of which he could potentially add more to the $2 billion commitment as the initiative grows. Leslie Lenkowsky, a philanthropic studies professor at the University of Indiana, said Bezos’s idea of starting smaller before expanding, commonly known as an “acorns to oaks” approach, will be not uncommon among wealthy individuals.
“There’s a not bad argument to start having a relatively smaller amount, as well as then when you see the item’s successful, expand the item,” Lenkowsky said.