Jeff Bezos this morning announced the 24 organizations from across the country that will receive a share of $97.5 million in grants from his new Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. The Amazon founder launched his philanthropic initiatives in September, with a dual focus on families experiencing homelessness and early education.
The “immediate donations” will go to groups in 16 states. Two organizations are near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Washington-based recipients and their gift amounts are:
- Catholic Community Services of Western Washington in Tacoma, $5 million
- Refugee Women’s Alliance in Seattle, $2.5 million
Last week, Amazon announced the location of its two new headquarters in New York and Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C. And organizations in these areas also will land grants from Bezos’ philanthropic fund. They include:
- Community of Hope, Washington, D.C., $5 million
- District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), Washington, D.C., $2.5 million
- Housing Families First, Henrico, VA, $2.5 million
- Northern Virginia Family Service, Oakton, VA, $2.5 million
- Urban Resource Institute, New York, $5 million
Absent from the list is Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit helping homeless women and children that was in large part the poster child for Bezos’ decision to support homelessness organizations. However, Mary’s Place Executive Director Marty Hartman was one of the experts who provided advice in the selection process. Amazon is currently constructing a building on its Seattle campus that will house its employees and Mary’s Place clients.
In this announcement posted on the Day One Fund website — so named in a nod to Bezos’ mantra that it’s essential to approach every day with the enthusiasm and energy of a new venture because it’s “always Day One” — Bezos gave a brief explanation for the intent of the gifts.
“The goal of the Day 1 Families Fund awards is to shine a light and support the organizations that are doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter for young families in communities across the country,” Bezos writes.
“These 24 organizations are working on a number of initiatives that support families in need — from emergency shelter and safe short-term shelter for families to get on their feet, to access and support for permanent housing and support services that help families move forward together,” he says. “We hope these grants provide the additional resources these leaders and their organizations need to expand the scope and impact of their efforts.”
The announcement did not include any information on the other half of his initiative, which is the creation of the Day 1 Academies Fund that “will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.” That effort, too, is expected to receive $1 billion in support in its first year.
The website for fund currently gives a brief description of the effort and says: “Stay tuned for updates.”
Tuesday’s announcement included a thanks to a dozen advisors including Hartman who helped with the selection process. Other recipients of funding are:
- Abode Services, Fremont, Calif., $5 million
- Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, New Orleans, $5 million
- Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, Miami, $5 million
- Community Rebuilders, Grand Rapids, Mich., $5 million
- Crossroads Rhode Island, Providence, RI $5 million
- Emerald Development and Economic Network, Cleveland, $2.5 million
- FrontLine Service, Cleveland, $2.5 million
- Hamilton Families, San Francisco, $2.5 million
- Heartland Family Service, Omaha, NE, $5 million
- JOIN, Portland, $5 million
- LA Family Housing, North Hollywood, Calif., $5 million
- Primo Center for Women and Children, Chicago, $2.5 million
- SEARCH Homeless Services, Houston, $5 million
- Simpson Housing Services, Minneapolis, $2.5 million
- The Salvation Army, Center of Hope, Charlotte, NC, $5 million
- The Salvation Army of Greater Houston, Houston, TX • $5 million
- UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix, $5 million
The website still lacks details about the Bezos Day One Fund and how it will operate.