Latest Pathways of Hope News
Nov 22, 2019
In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks on stage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. Some of the $98 million that’s being given to homelessness organizations around the country by the Amazon billionaire is coming to groups in Southern California. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) PUBLISHED: | UPDATED: November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm A few million dollars might be pocket change to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of about $109 billion. But to four nonprofits in Los Angeles and Orange counties, onetime grants from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, gifts ranging from $1.25 million to $5 million, will be life changing for the families they struggle to house. “It’s huge,” said David Gillanders, executive director of Pathways of Hope in Fullerton about the Bezos gift announced Thursday, Nov. 21. Gillanders noted that the $2.5 million grant is only slightly less than the group’s annual budget of about $2.6 million. “It’s transformational.” Families like these clients of Upward Bound House in Santa Monica will benefit from a $1.25 million grant the nonprofit was awarded by a fund that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife established to help struggling young families. (Courtesy of Upward Bound House) David Gillanders, executive director of Pathways of Hope in Fullerton, used the word “transformational” in describing the 44-year-old nonprofit’s $2.5 million grant from a fund established by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos. The Day 1 Families Fund was created in 2018 to help struggling young families. (Courtesy of Pathways of Hope) Sound The gallery will resume inseconds Christine Mirasy-Glasco, executive director of homeless services provider Upward Bound House in Santa Monica, is excited about the $1.25 million grant the nonprofit was awarded by a fund that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife established to help struggling young families. (Courtesy of Upward Bound House) Pathways of Hope in Fullerton provides transitional housing in apartments and houses in Fullerton and Anaheim, like the one shown in this file photo, for families that have been homeless. The nonprofit was awarded a $2.5 million grant from a fund established by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife to help struggling young families. (Photo by Lou Ponsi, contributing photographer) In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks on stage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. Some of the $98 million that’s being given to homelessness organizations around the country by the Amazon billionaire is coming to groups in Southern California. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) Show Caption The other Southern California awards were $5 million each to The Whole Child in Whittier and St. Joseph Center in Venice, and $1.25 million to Upward Bound House in Santa Monica. All the organizations around the country sharing in $98.5 million in grant money from the Day 1 Families Fund got a public congratulations on Twitter early Thursday from Amazon founder and CEO Bezos: “Thank you to these 32 organizations in 23 states working to end homelessness,” Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, tweeted to 1.1 million followers after emailing the organizations Wednesday night. Christine Mirasy-Glasco, executive director of Upward Bound House, said the award process took all of about two months from the time the Day 1 fund invited the nonprofit to apply for a grant until the grant was announced. “I was just floored,” said Mirasy-Glasco, who added that grant-making procedures typically take a minimum of six months. “I couldn’t believe that the whole thing had started and ended before I could even think it through. It was wonderful.” Following backlash over Amazon’s HQ2 corporate headquarters search in 2017 — which included brief flirtations with potential sites in Southern California — Bezos and his now ex-wife MacKenzie last year committed $2 billion to establish the two-pronged Bezos Day One Fund. One part of that, called the Day 1 Families Fund, targets existing nonprofits that help homeless families with shelter, food and other resources. The other, Day 1 Academies Fund, finances the creation of what Bezos described as “full-scholarship Montessori-inspired preschools in under served communities.” Nowhere in the United States is homelessness a thornier issue than in Southern California, where the number of homeless people continues to rise. In Los Angeles County alone, the homeless population is just under 59,000, based on an annual homeless census conducted earlier this year. And Orange County’s Point In Time count in January documented nearly 7,000 people who live in the area without permanent shelter. Gillanders of Pathways of Hope said the organization plans to use its grant to attract other partners to build much-needed affordable housing in north Orange County. The organization operates a few apartment buildings and houses in Anaheim and Fullerton to provide temporary shelter and affordable housing to homeless families. Gillanders said the $2.5 million grant announced Thursday is the largest single gift in the non-profit’s 44-year history. “It’s saying ‘We trust you to do the right thing with this money’.” The Whole Child in Whittier announced in a press release Thursday that its grant money will help pay for employment and education/training initiatives, subsidies that can help people stay in their homes, and build new specialized shelter beds for homeless families. Mirasy-Glasco said Upward Bound House, founded in 1990, will hire staff to focus on helping formerly homeless families maintain stable living situations once they get into housing. That assistance will including life-skill coaching and family counseling. Some grant money also will be used for a savings fund, in which families can get a match for up to $1,000 they put away, and to help pay for household emergencies, such as auto repairs. St. Joseph Center in Venice will take its Day 1 money to buy a building — a hotel or motel somewhere in Los Angeles County — that it can then convert into so-called bridge housing for families. Such housing typically helps people transition from living on streets or in shelters into more permanent living situations, said president and CEO Va Lecia Adams Kellum. St. Joseph Center assists about 10,000 homeless people a year, including 462 families over the past 12 months or so, Adams Kellum said. “That bridge is so important when a family is homeless, and you need to get kids back into a stable and safe environment,” she said. “This (grant money) allows us to scale up in a way that is just life changing.” Get the latest news delivered daily!