Amazon has announced a new $2.2 million donation to support the immediate needs of thousands of students from underserved communities in the Puget Sound region through the Right Now Needs Fund. The Fund, created by Amazon in 2018 in partnership with the nonprofits Alliance for Education and Bellevue LifeSpring, helps address students’ basic and immediate needs like food, shelter, clothing, and school supplies so students arrive at school prepared to learn. The donation will support all 106 schools within the Seattle Public Schools district and all 29 schools in the Bellevue School District.
“Many local families in underserved communities are feeling the impact of surging food and housing prices, and they’re making tough sacrifices to meet their immediate needs. We are determined to help by funding meals, shelter, clothing, school supplies, and other basic needs so kids can be successful students,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon general counsel and senior vice president, and Alliance for Education board member. “The Right Now Needs Fund helps our nonprofit partners and schools quickly identify and eliminate barriers to learning for students across the Puget Sound region, and we’re committed to continue supporting their work as one piece of our broader efforts to help our neighbors throughout the region.”
Amazon’s donation includes $1.4 million to the Alliance for Education to help identify and close opportunity gaps for local students and families at all of Seattle Public Schools’ 106 schools. Since the Fund was created with the Alliance for Education in 2018, donations have supported more than 38,000 requests for student support, including helping to cover costs for rent and utilities, food, clothing, and other basic needs.
“Amazon has been a tremendous partner to our Seattle Public Schools school community,” said Dr. Brent Jones, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “Throughout the life of our collaboration, they have demonstrated time and again that they are committed to expanding resources and providing immediate and tangible solutions for Seattle Public Schools students and families. We extend our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Amazon and look forward to an even greater partnership in the future.”
Amazon also donated $700,000 in cash and $150,000 in Amazon Gift Cards to Bellevue LifeSpring to support all 29 schools in the Bellevue School District. Bellevue LifeSpring supports nearly 4,000 underserved students enrolled in the Bellevue School District and their families. Since the Fund was created with Bellevue LifeSpring in 2020, there have been more than 15,000 instances of student support, including issuing more than 5,400 food vouchers for students, ensuring 178 students remained in their homes, and providing clothing for 666 students.
“Our colleagues are working with students and families during these incredibly tough times, and many of the families need support from the Right Now Needs Fund,” said Julie Bronson, family engagement and preschool coordinator at the Bellevue School District. “The challenges are wide-ranging, from food and clothing needs to help with housing while facing financial challenges and other emergencies. We are very grateful for the support from Amazon and our partnership with both the Amazon and Bellevue LifeSpring teams because it ensures a quick response so that no child goes without basic supports that we all deserve.”
School-based staff within the districts work with students and families to identify needs and submit requests for financial assistance through their respective nonprofit partner. In addition, any school community member can request assistance if they notice a specific student need. To date, every school within Seattle Public Schools and the Bellevue School District has used the Right Now Need Fund to help students.
Since launching the first Right Now Needs Fund in Seattle in 2018, Amazon has donated more than $8 million to provide support across all 106 schools within Seattle Public Schools and all 29 schools in the Bellevue School District. Combined, the donations have supported more than 55,000 requests for support—from clothing to hygiene products to school supplies— for students and their families. In addition to the Right Now Needs Fund donations, Amazon has donated 9,000 laptops and devices to Seattle Public Schools for remote learning. Amazon also delivered more than 1 million school meals to Seattle Public Schools students during the pandemic, to help ensure that students who rely on school meals had access to food while learning remotely, and donated $1 million to the City of Bellevue’s Health and Human Services Fund to support local families in need who were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.