Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has taken to an unusual platform - Twitter - to find ideas on how to spend part of his fortune.

Bezos tweeted an open call for assistance on Thursday June 15, asking his 233,000 followers for suggestions for philanthropy to help people "in the here and now". He has previously invested in more long-term bets such the Washington Post and in space exploration with his for-profit company Blue Origin.

"I'm thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time - working on the long term", he wrote. "For philanthropy, I find I'm drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now."

As an example, he mentioned Amazon's recent commitment to give the homeless shelter, Mary's Place, a permanent home inside one of its new office buildings in Seattle that is set to break ground later this year.

"I like long-term - it's a huge lever," Bezos explains. "Blue Origin, Amazon, Washington Post - all of these are contributing to society and civilization in their own ways. But I'm thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now - short term - at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact."

"If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea (and if you think this approach is wrong, would love to hear that too)", he added.

Jeff Bezos
Amazon's Jeff Bezos has taken to Twitter to crowdsource ideas for philanthropic projects. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos is the second-richest person in the world, with a fortune of over $82.8bn (£64.8bn), just short of Microsoft founder and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates' $89.4bn.

Inside Philanthropy describes Bezos as "relatively quiet" in comparison to some of his counterparts in Silicon Valley such as Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. However, the Bezos Family Foundation run by his parents is quite active and regularly donates to various causes.

Bezos and his wife Mackenzie have also donated tens of millions towards health research, arts and culture. He also previously donated to fund to Clock of the Long Now, a clock designed to keep time for 10,000 years.

Bezos did not specify how much he planned to commit to philanthropic giving. His tweet has already garnered over 14,000 responses and 4,900 retweets and counting.

Naturally Twitter responded within minutes with a wide range of suggestions including affordable housing, pitches to fund women's health care and food programs for children, tackling homelessness, helping military veterans and prison inmates, and easing student and medical debts.

"Buy forest lands to stop deforestation happening right now," co-founder and CEO of Bluesmart Diego Saez Gil tweeted. "Forests are the best carbon capturing tech we have."

Another person tweeted: "Fix Flint's water."