Three Catholic charitable organizations were named as winners of $5 million grants from the charitable organization of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, and Catholic Community Services of Western Washington were three of the 24 organizations selected to receive grants by the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund.A total of $97.5 million was distributed amongst the selected organizations, with the grants awarded at either the $5 million or $2.5 million levels. The Amazon founder and CEO launched the Bezos Day 1 Fund in September. It operates two separate funding streams: the Families Fund which distributes grants to nonprofits combating homelessness, and the Academies Fund which seeks to create a network of preschools in low-income areas.
On the fund website, Bezos explains that the goal of the awards was to “shine a light and support the organizations that are doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter for young families in communities across the country.” The selected organizations, Bezos explained, “are working on a number of initiatives that support families in need,” including the administration of homeless shelters and assistance with finding permanent housing. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement expressing their gratitude to have been one of the organizations selected.
The money will be used by Catholic Charities to assist the homeless in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties. As reported by CNA, “We are grateful to Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos for their generous and timely Day 1 Families Fund grant that allows Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami to be at the forefront of providing social services to children and families experiencing homelessness in the tri-county area of South Florida,” said Peter Routsis-Arroyo, CEO of Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, in a published statement on their website, also expressed gratitude at their selection. The money “will help us meet the needs of so many families experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Sister Marjorie Hebert, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.