Today, Amazon announced that it is donating $1 million to 13 community-based organizations that support communities of color in Seattle’s Central Area. The funds will help sustain active programs relating to equity and social justice, youth development, arts and culture, upskilling and workforce, and sustainability.
“It is important that we invest in our local communities as we emerge from the pandemic. These funds will provide a much-needed boost to community organizations that have suffered revenue shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic and create opportunities for individuals in Amazon’s hometown” said Taylor Hoang, Senior Manager of External Affairs. “Amazon is excited to support these worthy organizations that help address systemic inequities and assist communities of color in Seattle.”
The groups that will receive funding are: Byrd Barr Place, Clean Greens Farm and Market, Spectrum Dance Theater, Northwest African American Museum, BCC Community Development Services, Tabor 100, Mentoring Urban Students and Teens, Brothers United in Leadership Development, Keep Music Live, Capitol Hill Ecodistrict, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Central Area Youth Association, and the Technology Access Foundation.
“Amazon’s donation will support Byrd Barr Place’s essential services, such as food, shelter, warmth and financial tools,” said Andrea Caupain Sanderson, chief executive officer of Byrd Barr Place. “This will help community members avoid energy shutoff and receive assistance for heating expenses and repairs, find housing and avoid eviction, get grocery staples and other necessities, and learn how to pay down debt and save for the future. Amazon’s assistance will also support our Community Connector program, which serves African Americans with education, workforce development and access to health care.”
Support from Amazon will help enhance or expand some of the programs in the Central Area that are committed to addressing inequity and increasing social justice. For example, Brothers United in Leadership Development will be able to support black men providing leadership and mentoring to families and communities; Mentoring Urban Students and Teens, a mentorship program that supports afterschool programs and outdoor activities, will purchase sports equipment to bolster its youth programs; Tabor 100 will have the opportunity to provide support for 20 additional Black-owned businesses; the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle will invest in workforce development by upskilling Black youth and residents to enter the workforce; and the Central Area Youth Association will have additional assistance for its 2021 Summer Leadership Camp, which provides education, recreation, and leadership programs for youth in the Central Area.
“Good food is the key to good health for our community,” said Rev. Dr. Robert Jeffery, Sr., founder of Clean Greens, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing locally grown, affordable produce to the Seattle community. “I thank Amazon for their contribution to help us provide healthy food to Seattle residents by supporting a black-owned organic farm, which provides free Community Supported Agriculture boxes to low-income families in Seattle.”
“Investment in the arts is an important way to help our children thrive,” said Tera Beach, executive director of Spectrum Dance Theater. “We appreciate Amazon’s assistance to provide grants for low-income youth to attend dance and acting classes, making the art form of dance accessible through contemporary dance performances and high-quality dance training.”
In addition to the $1 million donation, Amazon will also sponsor Juneteenth Week 2021, the Northwest African American Museum’s celebration of Black freedom, which culminates with the Juneteenth Jamboree in the Park on June 19th at Judkins Park.
“We appreciate Amazon’s sponsorship of the Juneteenth Week celebration,” said LaNesha DeBardelaben, president and CEO of the Northwest African American Museum. “I am also excited that Amazon is partnering on a “Knowledge is Power” bookmobile to help NAAM bring 10,000 Black-centered books to local youth to promote literacy and racial equity in underserved neighborhoods.”
These contributions are the latest in Amazon’s ongoing work to support education and racial equality initiatives in communities across the country where its employees live and work. In 2020, Amazon donated $10 million to organizations working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans. Recipients—selected with the help of Amazon’s Black Employee Network—include groups focused on combating systemic racism through the legal system as well as those dedicated to expanding educational and economic opportunity for Black communities. Amazon followed this initial donation with an employee match program that resulted in an additional $17 million going to these organizations for a total of $27 million from the Amazon community.
Amazon has been a strong supporter of communities in King County. In 2020, Amazon donated nearly $10 million to more than 275 organizations across the county to assist with community efforts and provide support for organizations hit hard by the pandemic. Amazon also provided an additional $6.5 million in grants for COVID relief, as well as more than 9,000 laptops and other devices to help with remote learning. Amazon also recently:
• Donated more than $100M in cash and in-kind product to Mary’s Place, and in 2020 opened the largest family shelter in WA State at its Puget Sound headquarters.
• Launched its $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable homes in the Puget Sound, Arlington, VA, and Nashville, TN; initial investments included $161M below-market loan and $24M grants to the King County Housing Authority.
• Provided more than $2.5 million to support the immediate needs of thousands of students from underserved communities in the Seattle and Bellevue Public School Districts through its Right Now Needs Funds.