Two Virginia nonprofits receive $2.5 million from Bezos Day One Fund

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Two Virginia nonprofit organizations working to end homelessness are among the first grant recipients of the Day 1 Families Fund, a nonprofit of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, Mackenzie.

Housing Families First in Henrico County and Northern Virginia Family Service in Oakton each will receive $2.5 million.

Bezos Day 1 Fund announced Tuesday it would donate a total of $97.5 million to 24 nonprofits working to end family homelessness and those that provide emergency shelter.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and investment,” Housing Families First Executive Director Beth Vann-Turnbull said Tuesday. “While it certainly will transform what we can do, it’s going to be transformative for the Richmond region as far as addressing family homelessness.”

Housing Families First will use the grant to support its program that provides emergency shelter and its program that helps move families into permanent housing.

The grant will be used to help about 500 children and adults move from homelessness into permanent housing over the next four years. The group’s permanent housing program currently serves about 300 adults and children a year. The grant will allow the organization to serve an additional 120 people annually.

The funding also will provide new space and furnishings to house an additional 160 family members in its emergency shelter over the same time period.

Northern Virginia Family Service in Oakton says its $2.5 million grant will go toward expanding its programs to provide mental health, skills training and job support to help homeless families transition to permanent housing.

The grant also will be used to help develop new models to fight homelessness that can be replicated elsewhere.

“Our approach is holistically serving families to really address the root crises and move them to economic independence,” Whitney Richardson, director of communications for the organization, said.

The Bezos Day One Fund consists of two programs: the Day 1 Families Fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations fighting homelessness, and the Day 1 Academies Fund that will fund and build a network of pre-schools in low-income communities across the country.

Amazon announced last week that it would split its second headquarters among Northern Virginia and New York City.

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