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Amazon pledges to fight homelessness in its headquarter cities

Amazon is donating a total of $8 million to two different nonprofits and will match its employees' donations to select charities.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read

Amazon says its $8 million donation will "help offer additional housing and support services for our neighbors in need."

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Amazon said Tuesday that it would donate $8 million to fight homelessness. Plymouth Housing in Washington will receive $5 million, and the Arlington Community Foundation will get $3 million. Both nonprofits are located in Amazon headquarter cities.

In addition to the donation, Amazon will match employee contributions to the following charities up to $5 million through Sept. 30:

  • Accelerator YMCA.
  • AHC Inc.
  • Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.
  • A-SPAN.
  • Bellwether Housing.
  • Carpenter's Shelter.
  • Community Lodgings.
  • Compass Housing Alliance.
  • Cornerstones.
  • Doorways.
  • El Centro de la Raza.
  • Facets.
  • FareStart.
  • Friendship Place.
  • Hopelink.
  • Mary's Place.
  • Plymouth Housing.
  • Wellspring Family Services.
  • Wesley Housing Development Corporation.
  • YouthCare.

The funds will help increase access to affordable housing for low-income families and veterans, according to Amazon. The nonprofits can use the money to create more housing units and add support services for community members in those regions.

In Amazon's release, Paul Lambros, CEO of Plymouth Housing, said Amazon's initiative would help the nonprofit meet the immediate needs of thousands of people in the coming years. And Jennifer Owens, president and CEO of the Arlington Community Foundation, said, "Our veterans and working families deserve an appropriate standard of living that is healthy, safe and makes for a vibrant community. This gift is a great contribution toward that cause."

Jay Carney, senior vice president of Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon, said homelessness and affordable housing are real concerns in headquarter cities.

"We believe this gift can help offer additional housing and support services for our neighbors in need. In addition, together with our employees, we will donate to nonprofits located in Washington state; Washington, DC; Maryland and Virginia, whose missions support affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness," Carney said.

Last month, MacKenzie Bezos signed the Giving Pledge, following her divorce from the Amazon CEO. The split would make MacKenzie Bezos one of the richest people in the world, worth about $37 billion. She plans to give away at least half of her fortune. To date, her soon-to-be-ex husband hasn't signed the pledge. 

Last September,  Jeff Bezos announced the charitable Bezos Day One Fund. The fund will initially focus on giving money to existing nonprofits that help homeless communities. Later, it'll be geared toward creating a new network of top-tier preschools in low-income communities. 

In January, Microsoft also took strides to address homelessness. The company pledged $500 million to build low-cost homes in Seattle. The same month, Airbnb gave $2 million to aid homeless youth in San Francisco. 

Originally published June 11, 9:55 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:21 a.m.: Adds more details. 

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