September 13, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Announces $2 Billion Fund to Assist Low-Income Families and Communities

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Today Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos announced the creation of the “Bezos Day One Fund”, a commitment of $2 billion to fund nonprofits that assist families experiencing homelessness and create a network of preschools in low-income communities.

The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing meaningful work to provide shelter and food assistance to address short-term needs of vulnerable young families. Citing inspiration from Mary’s Place, an emergency shelter for homeless families in Seattle, Bezos stated the Fund would be driven by the vision statement: “No child sleeps outside.”

The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch a network of full-scholarship preschools in underserved communities, directly operated by an organization created by the Fund.

Enterprise Resources for Addressing Homelessness and Expanding Early Learning Opportunities

This commitment brings needed attention and resources to the critical issue of housing stability for families. Enterprise released a report last year, “Prioritizing Homeless Children and Their Families”, which outlined recommendations for preventing family homelessness and improving the well-being of homeless children and their families in New York. A key to addressing family homelessness is ensuring that affordable housing options are accompanied by supportive services. In collaboration with the Supportive Housing Network of New York, Enterprise’s New York office recently convened a panel to discuss lessons outlined in the new Joint Venture Guidebook, which helps organizations interested in partnering to develop affordable and supportive housing to better understand their joint venture options.

In May, Enterprise also released a white paper examining the challenges to and opportunities for preserving permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles County, which faces a severe homelessness crisis. Enterprise launched the Los Angeles Permanent Supportive Housing Preservation Initiative in 2016, and the report documents the lessons learned and future steps required to achieve the region’s long-term goal of ending homelessness.

Enterprise also commends the Bezos family for recognizing the important role that quality education plays in fostering economic opportunity. Last year, Enterprise's Pacific Northwest market launched the Home & Hope Initiative focused on connecting affordable housing to early education centers in King County. The accompanying report, “Home & Hope: Creating Early Learning and Affordable Housing Together”, provides a guide for users developing affordable housing with early learning centers and includes policy recommendations aimed at improving the delivery of mixed-used developments.