The Bezos Day One Fund will issue annual awards to organizations that are doing “compassionate, needle-moving work” to shelter and support the immediate needs of young families, the billionaire announced in a blog postThursday. Its vision statement comes from Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

“We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” Bezos wrote. “Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

With a personal fortune of $163.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon.com Inc. chief executive officer had previously been largely invisible in the world of philanthropy. His net worth has risen by $64.7 billion this year alone as Amazon’s shares have surged. Bezos’ relative silence was a stark contrast to peers like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who have given away tens of billions.

Until now, Bezos has made only small initial steps into giving. The Bezos Family Foundation, which is best known for its support of children’s education, has been largely funded by his parents from Amazon holdings they acquired as early investors in their son’s enterprise. Outside of that, Bezos and his family’s known donations have included gifts to Princeton University and Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

[more at bloomberg.com]