Strategies to End Homelessness, which leads a coordinated community effort to end homelessness in Greater Cincinnati, said it has received a $5 million grant from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The grant is the largest private gift in the organization’s history, and it brings to $7.5 million the amount Bezos has donated to organizations working to end homelessness in Greater Cincinnati. In fall 2019, Bezos donated $1.25 million each to Welcome House and Bethany House.
Strategies leads the coordinated community effort to end homelessness in Greater Cincinnati. Government grants of $35 million made up all but about $1 million of its $36 million in 2021 revenue. The $6 million-asset organization envisions a community in which everyone has a stable home and the resources needed to maintain it. Through the coordination of the local homeless services system, administration of city, county, state, federal and private funding to partner agencies and the operation of programs, Strategies prevents homelessness, assists people out of homelessness and offers solutions to homelessness through housing. It serves approximately 11,000 people annually.
Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations that are helping families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability.
Strategies was one of 40 nonprofits that received $123.45 million from the fund to help with re-housing and supporting families experiencing homelessness.
“Our analysis of homelessness data identifies solutions that are needed,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of the local nonprofit. “Unfortunately, we only have enough capacity to help about a third of the families that are in need, and other funding sources do not support some of the services homeless families need the most. We are grateful to the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund for this impactful grant, which will both expand capacity in existing data-driven programs and also support new services that data indicates are desperately needed.”
The one-time grant will help Strategies and its partners in their work to support families as they deal with skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes.
Strategies plans to use the grant funds to prevent children and families from ever experiencing the trauma of homelessness, to break the cycle of homelessness for others and to assist hundreds of at-risk families to progress toward self-sufficiency in safe, stable housing.
Strategies was selected as a grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision.
Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability.
Bezos made a $2 billion commitment in 2018 to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help families experiencing homelessness and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities.
More recently, he has committed to giving away a majority of his $124 billion net worth during his lifetime to causes fighting climate change and supporting people who can unify humanity in the face of deep social and political divisions. Bezos’ ex-wife Mackenzie Scott has given away $4 billion to more than 465 organization over the last two years. Scott has donated more than $60 million to Greater Cincinnati nonprofits.