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Amazon grants address family homelessness

Amazon grants seek to end family homelessness.

$9 Million Amazon donation to address family homelessness

Mary's Place family shelter receives largest grant

Five local kid- and family-focused nonprofits will receive a portion of $9 million in grant money from Seattle-based online retail giant Amazon, the company announced today. The list of grant recipients all work to address homelessness in the Puget Sound region, and includes Mary’s Place, a shelter and surrounding services organization with five locations throughout King County, YMCA of Greater Seattle, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, Seattle’s YouthCare, and Kirkland-based Friends of Youth. Seattle-based Plymouth Housing helos move unhoused adults to home stability.

A big win for Mary’s Place

Mary’s Place received the largest pot of grant funds at $6 million. The organization offers emergency family shelter, mobile outreach services, rental assistance, and other support to help stabilize struggling families at five locations across King County. The Amazon gift will help Mary’s Place develop a new, co-located affordable housing and family shelter location in Burien, replacing its current shelter at that location. The project would create 200 beds of emergency family shelter, housing, and outreach and prevention services for families. It will also result in 90 units of permanently affordable housing developed in partnership with Mercy Housing Northwest

The Amazon and Mary’s Place connection goes back to 2016. Since then, the retailer has provided $100 million in cash and in-kind donations to support the shelter’s work. In 2020, Amazon and Mary’s Place partnered to open the Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade—a first-of-its-kind permanent family shelter built inside one of Amazon’s office buildings in its Seattle headquarters. 

Relying on donations to meet a $30 million budget

While the $6 million in grant money is a big boost to the organization, Mary’s Place spokesperson Linda Mitchell stressed that the nonprofit relies on public donations to meet its $30 million annual budget. Last year the organization served 2,055 families, including 622 families through its shelter program and 821 families through its outreach program. The nonprofit served 612 families with its prevention services.

To learn more about Mary’s Place, go to the organization’s FAQs webpage.

“We’re so grateful for our Amazon neighbors,” Mitchell said. “This amazing gift will be used to help fund ongoing operations at our five 24/7 family shelters in King County and a new, higher-capacity shelter. This funding will go a long way to help address the growing crisis of family homelessness in our community.”

“Our partnership with Amazon has brought hope and housing to hundreds of women and families in our community,” added Dominique Alex, CEO of Mary’s Place, in a release. “The love and support from Amazonians is life-changing.”

Support for other organizations focused on kids and families

The rest of Amazon’s grant funds will be distributed for the following work:

  • The YMCA will receive $250,000 to support youth homelessness programs through the organization’s Y Social Impact Center. The center offers same-day drop-in shelters and transitional housing.
  • The YWCA grant of $250,000 will support the organization’s ongoing interventions, including emergency shelter and temporary housing, permanent housing, and housing support services.
  • YouthCare’s grant of $250,000 will support the organization’s ongoing housing programs, including community living, shelter, and independent living.
  • Friends of Youth will get a $250,000 donation to bolster ongoing services in and around the organization’s 7,000-square-foot space in Kirkland, which will replace the current young adult emergency shelter known as “The Landing” in Redmond.

“As the number of people experiencing homelessness in our region continues to grow, it is important to support the organizations directly helping youth, families, and individuals,” Alice Shobe, Global Director of Amazon Community Impact, said in a release. “From providing cash donations to local nonprofits to address soaring costs and increased demand to investing more than $550 million to add over 5,500 affordable homes in the Puget Sound, we are committed to helping tackle these challenges.”

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About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for NestingInstinctsSeattle.com and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at Compasswriters.com.